If New Yorker D.B. Rielly says in his biography that he was born in the hearts
and minds of lonely widows, then after hearing this debut album in which love
or the lack of it plays a major role, you won’t doubt his words.
The album starts, however, festive with the zydeco song “One of These Days
(You’re Gonna Realize),” but in the following “Don’t Give Up On Me,” you
can hear the longing and poignant sorrow, like on “Save All Your Kisses,”
a melancholy ballad and one of the highlights of this album. D.B. Rielly
accompanies himself in this song on the piano, but he also plays the accordion,
guitar, washboard and banjo.
Frequently, Rielly varies fierce zydeco with emotional songs, like “One Day At A Time,” expressive and sober at the same time, as if he is sitting in a lonesome corner, licking his wounds. Also Hiromasa Suzuki, on electric or National Steel guitar, pays tribute to that warm American sphere of Pioneer Spirit and nostalgic retrospection. And sometimes humor is hidden between the lines. In the narrative “Got A Mind” — another highlight in which a father seeks revenge — you only hear the singer with his banjo. Here, his way of singing reminds one of Dylan. Elsewhere you think of Ry Cooder, Zachary Richard or John Prine. But still the singer/guitarist puts his own unique stamp on these songs.
D.B. Rielly must be a musical centipede. Besides his instrumental versatility, he produced the album himself and has taken on many creative challenges, including performing at the Apollo Theater and the Montreux Jazz Festival. Rielly has a warm voice that radiates sincerity. He seems like a no-nonsense figure who enjoys making music and has no lack of imagination.
He, by the way, exposes in his biography a maybe-fantasized passage about a so-called disciplinary academy in which they teach troublesome adolescents to be more obedient.
Also, the packaging is unique. The CD comes in a tin box and promises an instant remedy for all afflictions. I wouldn’t recommend snake oil to anybody, but I would recommend these ten songs with the promise of their healing of all imaginary or real diseases, melancholia included.