Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Review: Dan Treanor – My Blues Diary

Dan Treanor’s latest album is a tour de force; a musical roadmap of Dan’s blues journey from 1997 to the present. Yet each cut shares a stylistic and thematic key with the others. This is truly the blues diary of the last 14 years from a man steeped in blues music, and blues harp in particular.

The talent on the album is impressive. Darryl Lee sings most of the cuts with an understated passion and brief moments of sobbing power. It is a unique and effective blues voice. People I know on the album include session man Rich Reno – a great slide guitarist – and my bandmate Charles Billiris. Outstanding bluesman Randall Dubis also makes an appearance on ‘Blue Bossa,’ the 6th track. The entire roster is impressive.

But this is Dan Treanor’s baby and you can tell he loves it. Dan is known mostly for his brilliant harp playing and it is on good display here. His teasing, lilting harp lines on Sonny Boy’s “Nine Below Zero” are beautiful. His tone on the Chicago-style “Love Me With A Feeling” is worthy of Maxwell Street. Dan is at his best in minor blues with a Latin beat, and there are a couple of those gems on the CD. Lonesome Railroad Track, 3 O’Clock in the Morning, Stoop Down Baby; they all kill. My band performed the song “Cut With Dynamite” at the Colorado Blues Society IBC Finals with Dan sitting in. All thirteen tracks are keepers.

The album is well produced. The sound is warm and personal across all the cuts. Vocals are vibrant and detailed. I thought the opening to Mean Woman Blues was a bit heavy, but that is mild criticism.

Mostly this album is about Dan Treanor’s love for blues harmonica. His licks are actually infrequent, but always beautifully soulful. I’ve already heard phrases I plan to steal.

I give this album a IV+ on the I-IV-V scale of blues harp excellence. Highly recommended. Contact Dan Treanor to find out how to get the CD: daniel2102@comcast.net

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