Let The Demons Out

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Let The Demons Out
Ruf Records

Among Ruf Records' most successful recent strategies has been giving youthful blues talent its break. In discovering and promoting promising acts like Dana Fuchs, Joanne Shaw Taylor, Laurence Jones and Samantha Fish, Ruf helps seems to have some sort of succession plan as older heroes age, retire, or leave us altogether. At the same time, more experienced blueshounds like Devon Allman, Mike Zito and Albert Castiglia are supported with recording, marketing and distribution clout, sufficient to see their talents appreciated and success achieved.

A new young name is Ghalia Vauthier, Belgian by birth, but even at her tender age, an artist who has steeped herself in the blues, almost literally, by tracking the movements of her heroes, busking along the way, as she soaked in the atmosphere of some of the US's most notable blues locations. She found a natural spiritual home in Louisiana, where the energetic Johnny Mastro & Mama’s Boys and Ghalia dovetailed perfectly live.

In the studio, there is something of that spontaneous vibe, deliberate in that the tracks were cut live in the Music Shed Studio in New Orleans. The end result is that Let The Demons Out shows fantastic promise, visiting all the outposts of the blues and its sub-genres, dealing with demons, relationships good and bad and even ‘4am Fried Chicken’.

Ghalia’s is an extremely promising blues voice although her occasional, possibly affected, strangulated vocal style can stifle her diction making lyrics difficult to comprehend, ‘Addiction’ and the teasingly-salacious ‘Press That Trigger’ in particular. There’s no doubt that this can be remedied, though, without losing her essential passion and ability to feel the song, which are huge assets. She has the added investment in that all but two of the album’s dozen songs are hers, giving an extra personal touch to the delivery. It’s obvious from live footage that she has an intuitive guitar feel and style too.

The backing she enjoys from Johnny Mastro & Mama’s Boys is exemplary. As often as not, their oeuvre recalls simple and effective 1960s R&B, and every note and nuance is sculpted to give support to the singer. Mastro himself, on blues harp is a classy constant, without ever betraying that tiresome harp player trait and indulgence of over-playing. Along with the tasteful licks and tight rhythms of guitarist Smokehouse Brown, and thundering foundation laid down by producer/bassist  Dean Zucchero and Rob Lee on drums, a series of wholesome blues and rock n roll atmospheres are created. This is especially so on the standout ‘Addiction’ where Ghalia, backing herself on open-tuned guitar, turns in a vocal performance of near-harrowing intensity.


Date added: Dec 20, 2017

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