I love a great back story to a band that also give clues as to how they tick; so when you realise that two members of The Damn Truth met, totally naked (apart from a guitar) on the banks of the Sea Of Galilee. Following this mutual baring of souls, Tom and Lee-la became firm friends and the rest, as they say, is history.
This Canadian band have been slowly but surely gathering fans across the globe with their own brand of rock and blues rock: now, with their third album cleverly title Now Or Nowhere they are surely going to garner more fans and recognition. As with many, the damn covid crisis affected the band: they had completed six tracks with noted producer Bob Rock, but still had more tracks to record and finish; step forward Juno Award-winning producer Jean Massicotte, who completed the last three tracks with the band.
If you haven’t heard their previous works, then one listen to the opening salvo of This Is Who We Are Now with its heavy bluesy rock riffing behind Lee-la’s soaring vocal will leave you in no doubt that this is quality…and, after the tasty bridge, we get a guitar solo that is fitting, clever and a bit short! Next track, Tomorrow, starts with a repetitive chord sequence as the bass, drums and vocals join in for a riff that has heft; the vocals bite and then harmonise…it’s a Stone The Crows for the 2020s; and that is a very good thing, especially with a cracking (short) guitar solo thrown in. Only Love starts a bit electric folky but soon gains weight (!) and Lee-la is echoed by the guitar as she and fellow nakedee Tom are inextricably joined in melody. Lonely is next up and, although below three minutes, packs a lot in with a gospel blues feel but seriously heavied up…listen out for some genius bass playing too behind the dark lyrics where A hundred-dollar bill will get you guns and pretty pills.” Acoustic ballad time with Everything Fades although it just about avoided the mid-record ballad cliches with really neat acoustic phrasing, a teeny solo and heavenly vocals. The Fire takes us back into quality 70s styled rock riffing stoked by vocals that match the title and a solo that is equally incendiary and rather lovely…and short! Look Innocent begins with a flurry of drums (clever drums) and then slows for more Stone The Crows blues rock that is exquisite and then an interesting spoke bridge about choice of pet before the main melody returns with a hint of venom. Penultimate track, Full On You, is an updated Stones/Faces blues rock melange that is an absolute treat…but the vocal and the quality guitar solo (short) mark this as pure Damn Truth. The album closes with a deceptive, quiet, orchestrated opening before the blues rock kicks and alternates with the angelic vocals. Shot ‘Em takes us out in style; a picked guitar and flute sound-alike conjure the beginning of Rainbow Eyes but then the heavy chords cut in and we go out in a blaze of blues rock excellence. The contrast between the quiet and heavy sections works well and displays the enviable abilities of each member of the band…topped off with a laid back guitar section that didn’t develop into the hoped for solo, but there are phrases aplenty behind the vocal melodies and some neat fretwork on the outro.
A thoroughly enjoyable romp through blues infused rock and always with a hint of quality 70s rock that, let’s be honest, we (nearly) all yearn for.
Bluesdoodles rating – 4 Doodle Paws. This is a damn good blues and 70s rock-influenced album that will never disappoint.
1 This is Who We Are Now
3 Only Love
5 Everything Fades
6 The Fire
7 Look Innocent
8 Full on You
9 Shot ‘Em
Lee-la Baum (lead vocals/guitar)
Tom Shemer (lead guitar/vocals)
PY Letellier (bass/vocals)
Dave Traina (drums/vocals)
The even better news is that The Damn truth will be supporting King King in the UK next year…fingers crossed, ‘cos I for one, want to live in Lee-la land!
(iTunes, as is its won’t, turned up a nearly forgotten gem from bluesy Dan Dunne and the Reels With Pale Moon Love from 2014.)