Sweet Relief [Release date 25.06.21]
The Sweet Relief Musicians Fund provides financial assistance to all types of career musicians and music industry workers who are struggling to make ends meet while facing illness, disability, or age-related problems. One of those to benefit from Sweet Relief is singer and songwriter Joey Spampinato, who is also bassist and co-founder of NRBQ, a band who started out in 1969.
Kami Lyle and producer Sheldon Gomberg contacted a number of musicians to ask them about recording one of Joey’s songs for an album to help raise funds for Joey when it was revealed he was battling cancer. Musicians that got involved included Ben Harper, Keith Richards, Charlie Musselwhite, Benmonth Tench, Don Was, Bonnie Raitt, Jim Lauderdale. Los Lobos, Chris Spedding, Penn and Teller and many more.
All of the musicians appearing on this album generously donated their proceeds from these previously unreleased recordings to the Sweet Relief Musicians Fund to support Joey and other struggling musicians.
‘Like A Locomotive’ will be the song to draw in many music fans and press coverage, being as it features Ben Harper, Don Was, Charlie Musselwhite, Keith Richards and Benmont Tench, on a bluesy rock ‘n’ roll number. Deer Tick and their indie rock/Amerciana impress greatly on ‘That I Don’t Get Back Home’, so much so that I am off to investigate their own music further.
The Minus 5 get the rock ‘n’ roll party started on ‘Don’t She Look Good’. A band that features former R.E.M. guitarist Peter Buck, and in an extra treat for R.E.M. fans, Mike Mills guests on this song too. Bonnie Riatt teams up with Joey’s old band NRBQ on ‘Green Lights’. This one not only highlights Riatt’s singing qualities but also what a talented slide guitarist she is. An album stand out.
One of the most unusual guests on here are magicians and entertainers Penn and Teller. It is an okay vocal on ‘Plenty Of Somethin’, however, their vocal riffing on the song is good fun.
Often albums with a variety of guest musicians can feel disjointed, luckily this is not the case here as the fact that Joey Spampinato had a hand in writing all the songs that appear on here gives a cohesive thread throughout the music. An album to enjoy and get you in a party mood, plus it helps musicians in time of need, a perfect double tonic. ***1/2
Review by Jason Ritchie
For more information about Sweet Relief Musicians Fund visit www.sweetrelief.org
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