Thursday, April 26, 2012

Hearts Are Wild reviewed by Rick Davis

Hearts Are Wild
Debbie Bond
Blues Root Productions
12 Tracks

Debbie Bond began performing with traditional Alabama blues artists like Johnny Shines, Eddie Kirkland, and Willie King. She shared her band with Johnny Shines performing together at many Southern clubs and festivals until his death in 1992. She continued to work with Alabama bluesman like Jerry Boogie McCain, James Peterson, Eddie Kirkland, Sam Lay, Little Jimmy Reed, Willie King and more. She has toured Europe with and without Johnny Shines, co-founded the Alabama Blues Project to promote and preserve the state's blues heritage in 1995, has performed in blues in the school programs, and in 2002 she restructured the award-winning Alabama Blues Project (ABP) into an educational non-profit.

All of the tunes on her latest release Hearts Are Wild were written and co-produced by Debbie and her husband Rick Asherson the band's keyboardist, with the exception of  "You're The Kind Of Trouble" which was written Shannon and Adam Wright and Paul Kennerley and "Baby I Love You" written by Ronnie Shannon. Bond's vocals have been compared to a cross between Bonnie Raitt and Janis Joplin. Along with Rick Asherson on keyboards, harmonica, and background vocals, the other band members are James "Mr. B." Brown on bass as well as lead and rhythm guitars, Dave Crenshaw on drums, Brice Miller and Rob Alley on trumpet,  Brad Guin on sax, and Chad Fisher on trombone.

The CD is a contemporary sounding blend of music, incorporating soul, blues, rock, jazz and even some country influences. Her vocals are soulful, sultry, and at times raw.  Her guitar licks are not overpowering but incorporated well into the overall band performance. "Dead Zone Blues" offers nice subtle background from the sound horn section delivered with Bond's intoxicating vocals and a hint of funk. The title track "Hearts Are Wild" is hot, slow, steamy blues tune. Asheron opens with a smooth a piano solo followed with nice soulful guitar solos blended with Bond's sweet soul vocals. "My Time" is whimsical blues tune with contemporary based lyrics. "Drama Mama" delivers a jazz saturated lounge tune reminiscent of the old piano-bar era. "You're The Kind Of Trouble," the first cover tune, is probably closer to the Holmes Brothers version of the tune. "Still Missing You" is slow tune with a little country flavor showcasing Debbie's vocals. "Rick's Boogie" has a boogie woogie/New Orleans style influence in the delivery of the song. "Baby I Love You," the other cover song, has all the soulful, funky qualities of Aretha Franklin's 1967 hit with strong sax complimenting well throughout. "Nothing But The Blues" pulls in a nice muted trumpet and showcases a little stronger guitar riffs. "Falling" in love with you is a slow, traditional, extremely soulful blues tune demonstrating just how versatile Bond sings. Some Jerry Lee Lewis honky tonk, rock 'n' roll style piano and harmonica really combine well with Debbie's vocals on the tongue-in-cheek number "I Like It Like That." The CD concludes with the soulful gospel sounding "Since I Found Love," with Bond declaring, "I thank heaven above, since I found love."

I think you will find Debbie Bond and her charming southern style blues vocals along with a very seasoned group of blues musicians very entertaining when you hear Hearts Are Wild. It is hard to believe it is only her second solo disc! Hearts Are Wild is a grand slam home run!

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