The Blues Blows In From Jersey Shore

If you like blues and jazz played by excellent musicians and spiced up by straight-talking (sometimes raunchy) lyrics, you’ll enjoy The Danny Petroni Blue Project (featuring artist Frank Lacy) by The Blue Project (released 11th January, 2014) This is late night music – the kind that used to be heard in smoke-filled rooms.

Petroni plays guitar in the band and all tracks are written by him. All the musicians and singers involved on this debut album, which include Frank Lacy on lead vocals, trombone and flumpet, bring something to the party. With the likes of Louis Jordan and Joe Turner sitting on Petroni’s shoulders, he explores different shades of the blues tradition. The guitar plucks at your heartstrings; the horns make you shuffle your feet. By the way, ‘flumpet’ isn’t a typo! I looked it up and, apparently, it’s a hybrid instrument which merges the trumpet and the flugelhorn.

Traditional blues kicks off the album, with I Changed My Ways, a slow song with vocals from Frank Lacy and Jo Wymer plus fabulous blues guitar and swampy violin. As well as terrific vocals from Frank Lacy throughout, which reverberate from years of experience, he gives us fine musical moments such as the trombone solo on Mouse in the House. Danny Petroni’s guitar playing is also assured, no matter what style he’s playing in. Cracker Jack and Diminishing Returns are the two instrumentals present, the former with jazz horns and country/ rock-tinged guitar and the latter featuring a mellow Petroni on a Fender Strat.

God of War is a hard-hitting anti-war protest and the most rock influenced track on the album. Requiem for the Working Man, probably my favourite contribution, begins with a wonderfully mournful upright bass intro. This song is about those on minimal wage struggling to get by, with simple lyrics which eloquently describe their plight. As for the track, Peanut Butter & Jelly, I can’t help thinking that “peanut butter and jelly” may be a euphemism for something…..

Danny Petroni’s motivation for forming this band from fellow Jersey Shore musicians was in the wake of Hurricane Sandy in 2012 when the aftermath saw the local music scene all but stop. This record is their phoenix rising from the ashes, so to speak.

There’s purity in this music, which shows a modern audience that you don’t need studio tricks and endless layers of production; you just need a soul.

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