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Doug Deming & The Jewel Tones - Falling Through The Cracks
Mighty Tiger Records
15 songs; 70:44 minutes; Suggested
Styles: Traditional and Contemporary Blues, Swinging Jump Blues, Roots music
There is a wonderful product available on the market. It’ll make you return to fun venues. “It makes the night seem early and all the women fine.” “It’ll make you feel ten feet tall.” It can make you “feel like Hugh Hefner and Donald Trump combined.” So, what could it possibly be? And, of course you are right, “It Was the Wine.” This information, reminiscent of Siegel-Schwall’s fun ode to the fruit of the vine, is contained in the sixth track of Doug Deming’s great, second CD, Falling Through the Cracks.
Several years ago, I saw Doug Deming performing live. I was so impressed by his tasteful playing on a big, hollow-bodied Gibson guitar that I have always remembered him. I have watched his career wondering why someone that good doesn't seem to hired outside the Midwest and his home base in Michigan.
When his latest CD crossed my desk, my memories of him were confirmed: here is a cat that is bedrock solid in the Blues with inventive guitar licks, clever song writing, and upbeat, dance inducing music. As a guitar player, he nails every category: taste, tone, restraint, timing, and phrasing.
Deming also possesses credible vocals as he is a pure singer, not a shouter. His guests on harmonica help make this a standout CD: Dennis Gruenling, Kim Wilson, and Dave Morris.
Band mate Bob Conner’s swinging lines on the upright and solid bottom on the Fender bass add depth and authority. Regular drummer Julian VanSlyke’s jazz-fusion-world music background lends dimension to the Blues and Jump-Swing styles. Guests include Detroiter Bill Heid and Al Hill – keyboards, and, on three songs, Keith Kaminski, Dwight Adams, and John Rutherford on horns.
The fun begins right with track one, “Tonight Is the Night.” The up tempo Rock and Roller is simply guitar, bass, and drums with Gruenling punctuating the fun on harp and taking a nice solo at mid-song followed later by Deming showing off creative solo fretwork. This song is a fine example of what Deming means when he says, “We have no gimmicks. We play pure traditional music from the heart, with an image that conveys a deep respect for the genre.”
Quickening the pace to “breakneck,” Dave Morris blows up a solo storm to open track two, “Don’t Worry Me Pt. 1.” Deming dances on the top twang strings briefly then deftly switches to melodic chords rapidly followed by single string treble note picking in impressive manner.
The title track is a slow Blues with just the core band trio. With six minutes to utilize, the lyrics and accompanying music deftly explore the gamut of failing-love themed Blues.
Other standouts: Kim Wilson’s harp on “Momma Didn’t Raise No Fool” and traditional Blues lumpty-lumper “Only Time Will Tell,” the shimmering ear-worm “Put It Down” with chromatic harp by Dave Morris, Bill Heid’s amazing piano work on slow crooner “Every Night When I Get Home,” and two killer instrumentals “East Side Hop” and “Heiding Out!”
Already a critically-acclaimed singer-songwriter, Deming is deserving of more attention, like major Blues festival appearances. His spellbinding guitar work has not gone completely unnoticed as accolades have come in various publications around the country. This “every-song-is-a-winner” CD should catch attention and open doors. Just one listen reveals the unique qualities and ability to be fresh while staying in the idiom.
Reviewer James "Skyy Dobro" Walker is a noted Blues writer, DJ, Master of Ceremonies, and longtime Blues Blast Magazine contributor. His weekly radio show "Friends of the Blues" can be heard Saturdays 8 pm - Midnight on WKCC 91.1 FM and at www.wkccradio.org in Kankakee, IL
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