Niecie spells Trouble With A Capital T

Detroit born and Nashville based, singer Niecie (which, incidentally, is what I call my brother’s daughter, Julia) has recently released her fifth album…apologies to her for the delay in reviewing Trouble With A Capital T; it somehow got missed in the mix of releases we get sent. I won’t detail her history or influences as the lovely Lori Graboyes covers that in the interview she did with Niecie and you can find that fascinating Bluesdoodles interview, where you can learn of her time as an eye model (for a cosmetics firm) amongst other interesting facts.

It opens with Thank God For Fools and this is an immediate, blues-rock song that benefits from Niecie’s delivery and the Purplish intro with B3 and guitar playing the perfect background to this great track. After the sweet bridge, the guitar and organ solos are first class…albeit too short, even after the revisit to the close. Memphis Stomp is approaching onomatopoeic with the funk cutting through and the horns horning in the right places. A neat song, but it veers a little too much toward a 70s soul/disco sound for my taste. Two Can Play That Game puts it all right with a classic guitar/keys driven slice of proper blues with a lilt, as Niecie lays into an unfaithful lover. Waiting For The Next Shoe To Drop is, by the lyrics, a stiletto! It is a deliciously slow and bluesy song with piano, organ and sparse guitar giving it a depth and passion that makes it a real standout…and not just on this album; the guitar solo is brilliant and the whole thing reminds me of the feel and similar but different structure of Gillan’s If You Sing Softly. This is my favourite by far and is already on repeat. Two Sides To Every Story is a soulful and heavy blues…mid-paced and with more superb guitar and keys backing up a very good vocal performance…no histrionics: just passion in the storytelling. The next track was very nearly the title track although, with a title like Sweat, perhaps it was better to go with another! It does suggest some sweat went into the recording as the vivacious nature of Niecie comes across over the great drum patterns, keys and guitar. The horns join in again and provide fills when necessary as well as a sax solo that echoes the potential benefits of the lucky person the lyrics are addressing! The title track, Trouble With A Capital T has a funky intro that leads into clever verse structures and lyrics before the organ provides an excellent solo and leads to the guitar solo that is slightly fuzzed and phased and guess what? They don’t last long enough. Baby It’s Working is back to blues-rock in the vein of The Stones…that is a good thing as we get that archetypal intro and, as the song develops, there’s also echoes of Humble Pie and Thunder: ergo, it is very, very good. Rise Up is the last track on my copy and, after a thumping snare intro, it quickly becomes a clever build-up via guitar and B3 into an original take on the blues. It has rock, field and gospel mixed in too and it all works very well and will get into your head and stay there…especially, for me, the guitar section in the middle which has it and says it all. With one exception for me, this is a very strong album, impeccably written, performed and produced. It has some great takes and interpretations of the blues and embodies it well. Niecie has a great voice which she doesn’t spoil by trying to sound like anyone else or by screaming and/or shouting…she uses her words and enunciation to carry the message most effectively. A thoroughly enjoyable album of meaningful instrumentation and thoughtful (and suggestive) lyrical content. Give it a try: I doubt you’ll be disappointed

EIGHTpawprint half inchdoodle paws out of TEN …

Tracklisting:

  1. Thank God For Fools
  2. Memphis Stomp
  3. Two Can Play That Game
  4. Waiting For The Next Shoe To Drop
  5. Two Sides To Every Story
  6. Sweat
  7. Trouble With A Capital T
  8. Baby It’s Working
  9. Rise Up
  10. Lighter Shade of Blue
  11. Just This Side of Memphis

Musicians:

Niecie: vocals

Johnny Neel: keyboards

Chris Anderson: guitar

Doug Jones; guitar

Joe Conley: guitar

Johnny Duke: guitar

Richard Griffin: saxophone

Joe Gross: trumpet

Dennis Gulley: bass

Randy Coleman: bass

Shaun Murphy: backing vocals

Melissa Alesi: backing vocals

Lori Beth Hogan: backing vocals

Randy Russell: backing vocals

Jesse Meeks: backing vocals

Apologies to the very good drummer(s) as I couldn’t find details anywhere.

Niecie spells Trouble With A Capital T

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