Reviewer Dr. Wesley Britton: Dr. Britton is the author of four non-fiction books on espionage in literature and the media. Starting in fall 2015, his new six-book science fiction series, The Beta-Earth Chronicles, debuted via BearManor Media. For seven years, he was co-host of online radio’s Dave White Presents where he contributed interviews with a host of entertainment insiders. Before his retirement in 2016, Dr. Britton taught English at Harrisburg Area Community College. Learn more about Dr. Britton at his WEBSITE
Publisher: Stony Plain Music
Publisher: Stony Plain Music
If you hear the name Maria Muldaur and only think “Midnight at the Oasis,” “Three Dollar Bill,” or “Don’t You Feel My Leg,” you’ve been missing a lot of good bluesy roots music the past 30something years. As time has progressed, her voice has become more dusty, more raspy which perfectly suits the material she’s become known for, and she shows her mature, gritty range on Steady Love.
After releasing a series of acoustic-oriented blues collections, Steady Love is as electric as Muldaur has been in a very long time, benefiting from keyboardist David Torkinowski as music director. The central player in what Maria calls her “red hot Bluesiana ban” is guitarist Shane Theriot (The Neville Brothers) who is as energetic and original as this material demands. The soulful Gumbo also includes bassist Johnny Allen and drummers Kenny Blevins & Shannon Powell who contribute nicely to the lively feel and groove of this New Orleans-flavored musical ride.
Self-produced by Muldaur, the set opens with the gospel inspired “I’ll Be Glad,” co-written by Elvin Bishop and Bobby Cockrun. It was chosen as the single you can hear now at Youtube. While most tracks are fusions of Maria’s favorite genres, “Why Are People Like That?” (written by Bobby Charles), “Blues Go Walking,” “Rain Down Tears,” and “Don’t Ever Let Nobody Drag Your Spirit Down” are pretty much straight-up scorching electric blues showcasing Theriot. Then there’s the pure Gospel of “I’ve Done Made It Up In My Mind” and “As An Eagle Stirreth In Her Nest” before Muldaur rocks out with “Soulful Dress” and “Get You Next To Me.” New Orleans “swamp funk” is most evident on tracks like Stephen Bruton’s “Walk By Faith” and “I Am Not Alone,” written by Fleetwood Mac alum Rick Vito. Some tasty Delta bottleneck guitar on that one! Old-fashioned Memphis soul horns can be heard on the title track, “Steady Love” and Percy Mayfield’s “Please Send Me Someone To Love.”
In short, while Maria Muldaur and her “Bluesiana” band keep the sound and tone of this set consistent, there’s a variety of Southern musical settings, from Memphis to New Orleans, from choir-lofts to cotton-fields to hopping nightclubs. Maria re-interprets old standards and breathes life into new material written expressly for her. There are so many reasons to like this album—perhaps the best is the marriage of voice, players, and songs. Red hot blues indeed.
Wes Britton’s audio interview with Maria Muldaur for “Dave White Presents”is posted at: