304 North Cardinal St.
Dorchester Center, MA 02124
304 North Cardinal St.
Dorchester Center, MA 02124
Bluesdoodles rating: 3 Doodle Paws – a great listen and a fine follow up to Italia Square with Eva pouring heart and soul into every word backed by some very talented musicians.
Eva Carboni is from Sardinia and, should you holiday there, a recommended venue would have to be the Birdland Jazz Club she co-founded and regularly appears at, as host and vocal tutor. She studied in the US too and has appeared with many musicians such as Buddy Guy, Marco Mendoza and Vic Martin amongst others. Her first album, Italia Square, was well thought of here at Bluesdoodles, as well as the Wrong Turn EP, and so I approach Eva’s latest with eagerness and expectation. With a touch of serendipity, I received at the same time the solo album (The Slow Blues Sessions) from the guitarist Mick Simpson who appeared on Italia Square and adds his considerable talent to this new release too. (Eva did a fabulous job on two tracks on Mick’s 2017 album Black Rain.)
Called Smoke And Mirrors, her latest release is a twelve-song set that’s rooted in the blues but isn’t afraid to genre blend as soul, jazz and rock all find a home.
It opens with Building a Wall which starts with a great tension building drum, bass then a sparse riff to stamp the blues on a track where Eva demonstrates her subtlety and power. The bass line may be a little familiar, but it pins this solid and drama-filled song down and allows the guitar to illuminate between verses and lights up for a short solo…a really good start. Eva’s powerful and attractive voice occasionally shows that English isn’t her first language but her tone, emphases and passion more than makeup for the occasional odd enunciation and you soon forget about it. The title track is next and Smoke and Mirrors is a slightly quicker, still bluesy song with a great guitar intro and simple but effective piano. The vocals are a bit jazzy in delivery and Eva pours emotion into every syllable. The guitar solo is blues in every sense, with hints of Gary Moore in the use of sustain and bends.
Gonna Find a Way is a curiosity with its enthralling jazz/fusion guitar intro. It’s clever and leads nicely into the vocal melody that’s backed by neat chord work with the odd excursion around the guitar neck as well as some slinky slide interjections and a solo is pure blues picking…that description may sound a bit of a confusion of styles but, rest assured, it works. Call My Name opens with guitar string bends and volume work with organ washes surrounding it and sets the scene for this slow blues to develop with Eva’s heartfelt lyrics and melodies. The guitar solo is stunning and equally emotive.
Crossed a Line is blues-rock with a great riff and neat vibrato and shows that Eva can do rock too…the first guitar solo rocks too and the second uses the wah pedal to great effect. This is an instant favourite…although the blues-drenched, acoustic opening to Bad Blood runs it close. Eva joins in with an aching vocal and filtered sound that suggests this was recorded on a Sardinian front porch in the 1930s with the lovely blues floating across the hills as multiple glasses of local wine are imbibed…or that might be just me! The harmonica solo and harmony guitar are a delight too. The Winter of 51 is a jazz biased song with atmosphere aplenty created by the gentle piano, brushed drums and vocals. The guitar accompaniment stays blue and the meld works very well, especially as the blues runs in the solo fit in some clever jazz flourishes. Up next is a piano-led jazz song.
Sweet Mystery could happily sit in a smoky soundtrack as the leading couple smooch in the jazz lounge. It may never be a favourite of mine, but the vocal and pains are very good indeed. Midnight Blue takes us back into a bluesy, 70s rock pattern…a mid-paced song with hints of chartable pop in the melodies. It does work and has a delightful guitar solo in the middle. Goin’ Back Home is acoustic blues with a banjo sounding guitar leading the way for Eva to sing about the Mississippi and then make room for a simplistic but clever (short) slide solo.
The penultimate track, That Night, is a slowish rock, blues song that again has a sense of drama courtesy of the subtle and effective vocals…the guitar solo matches that drama and strengthens this powerful ballad. Final track, Another Door Closes, is a fine blues song that takes a few recognised traps and weaves them into a new and emotional song with an ingenious guitar solo.
This is a fine follow up to Italia Square and stays, apart from one track, (in my humble) on the right side of the blues with Eva pouring heart and soul into every word backed by some very talented musicians.
Building a Wall
Smoke and Mirrors
Gonna Find a Way
Call My Name
Crossed a Line
The Winter of 51
Goin’ Back Home
Another Door Closes
Eva Carboni: vocals
Mick Simpson: guitar
Giovanni Bruno: guitar
Dave Hunt: guitar, harmonica
Vincent Rossi: guitar
With Andrius Insdell and Pete Nelson
(iTunes visited one of the so-called New Wave of Classic Rock bands as Everyday Heroes channel their Spirit in the Sky into a great rock song called Find My Way.)