Quick plays: DANA IMMANUEL, EVE SELIS

DANA IMMANUEL & THE STOLEN BAND Come With Me

DANA IMMANUEL & THE STOLEN BAND Come With Me
[Release date 05.08.16]

A curious release, coming reasonably hot on the heels of banjo-toting, whiskey-drinking north London based singer-songwriter Dana Immanuel’s last album Dotted Lines which attracted a 4 star GRTR! review last autumn.

Even curiouser, the inner liner photo – taken on Immanuel’s bed looks like it could have been shot at the same time as the Dotted Lines album cover – the booze bottles arrayed behind her headboard look unmoved, although this time her bandmates Feadora Morris (guitars, banjo, feedback), Blanche Ellis (vocals, washboard, thimbles), Maya McCourt (cello, vocals, single bass) and Hjordis Moon Badford (cajon, foot tambourines, feathers) are spread in states of mock(?) inebriated disarray across Immanuel’s bedcovers.

Once again produced by George Malamas, Come With Me was recorded live-ish in the studio, and made up of three new Immanuel numbers, revisitings of her solo releases (three of Dotted Lines’ eight tracks, and three from her 2011 debut Character Assassination), and a cover of ‘Viva Las Vegas’.

While it provides some current ‘product’ to pedal on a string of dates that span June to October, I’m not convinced that the re-workings, although I can only comment on those from Dotted Lines, add much (if anything) to the originals.  But for the uninitiated, Come With Me is a good starting point for exploring Immanuel’s quirky brand of blues-cum-bluegrass-cum-Americana-come pop.  ***

Review by Pete Whalley

EVE SELIS See Me With Your Heart

EVE SELIS See Me With Your Heart Hippy Chick Twang [Release date 08.07.16]

GRTR!’s last encounter with Eve Selis was back in 2012, with release of Family Tree which we concluded, while breaking no new ground, was a ‘mainstream’ album packed with radio friendly tunes, some fantastic playing and great vocals.

4 years and several more independent releases down the track, it’s a formula that Selis continues to repeat on her 9th studio album, produced by produced by Grammy winning producer / guitarist Kenny Greenberg (Allison Moorer, The Mavericks, Joan Baez) and his team of top Nashville session players.

There’s everything here from the Fleetwood Mac lite opener ‘Fearless Heart’, a Tina Turner style belter – the steamy’Still Have a Long Way To Go’ – Don Henley-style country (‘See Me With Your Heart’, ‘Can’t See Past Myself’ and ‘Beautiful Dreams’), gospel balladry (‘Already Gone’), and a honky-tonk boogie that manages to combine elements of The Stones, Belinda Carlisle, and Shania Twain (‘Slow Down’).

It’s flawlessly constructed and played, and impeccably sung.  It’s a surprise, therefore, that Selis – who has won countless San Diego Music Awards, isn’t more widely known.  The problem, one suspects, is that it’s also very ‘safe’.  Nothing wrong with that, but it does mean that it’s likely to appeal, in the main, to the sensible, and well-heeled, middle-aged.  ***

Review by Pete Whalley


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