More than a few times, I’ve used Motown founder Berry Gordy’s slogan, one that he slapped on his Gordy labels “It’s What’s In The Grooves That Counts” in my Elmore reviews. This ain’t Motown, but it sure has soul. It’s not uptown either, just down-home Southern swampy, jazzy blues.
Time for a new slogan says I. How about “You don’t need no clicks when everything ticks.” I’m talking about the songs, the production and of course the singer, who has to sell them. Probably not since I dropped my ol’ tone arm into the opening grooves of Joni Mitchell’s Court & Spark LP has an opening song sucked me in as fast as the Demeyer’s ethereal “All The Blue” did. Viktor Krauss’s bass part is largely responsible, as is producer Jano Rix’s “Shuitar,” a drum and percussion set he made out of a cheap wall-hanger guitar. Weave in some fills from JP Ruggieri’s steel, with his rolling acoustic guitar pattern, and you have a perfect bedding for Ms DeMeyer to emote her tale of a hard times struggler vs a “high cotton-er” of the society South.
Now she’s got me listening closely for the rest of the ride. Not that this is anything like Joni’s record was, it just has all the groove elements in place: crafty word play, touches of mystery and heaps of musicality. It’s all superbly carried along with the other players enlisted by Rix, who is my-T fine on the keys too. He brings his bandmates, the Wood Brothers, McCrary sister Alfreda and several other tasteful players to the party. There they coalesced around Demeyer’s story songs that she and Rix constructed distanced from the West Coast and the Third Coast (Nashville), where she spent some song-formative years. Having to leave Music City and missing her musical friends here provided much of the inspiration, which she sings about in “Salt Of The Earth” and her anthemic “Seeker”
Speaking as one who has done time both in recording studios and on the road striving to communicate, I know a little about how good it feels when it all seems to work, as well as the blues that can set in when you don’t quite nail it. This collaboration from DeMeyer and Rix lights the candles on the cake, and I hope they bake another one like this.
March 24, 2021 – by Ken Spooner
Read the review at Elmore Magazine.