|21 September 2011
More Spaghetti Blues: Dirty
"Trashtown", the follow-up to the Italian
duo Dirty Trainload’s 2007 debut "Rising
Rust", is a very different animal from its
predecessor: instead of Blues Rock
influences, there’s Americana; instead of
industrial landscapes, there’s vaguely urban
Yet the music is all the more powerful for it.
|Bob Cillo’s original vision of overdiven guitars and analog loop machines has
survived, but with the departure of former vocalist Marco Del Noce and the
introduction of Livia Monteleone on vocals, drums, banjo and baritone guitar, it
all sounds warmer, bluesier, and much more musical. Cillo and Monteleone have
co-written 11 of the album’s 13 tunes, and while Del Noce does put in a guest
appearance on harp and washboard, the overall impression is that of Monteleone
driving Cillo’s train.
"Livia’s a talented girl and a fabulous singer," says Finland’s Black River
Bluesman who met the American-Italian musician during his 2009 trip to
Minneapolis. "She was my drummer for the Deep Blues festival, I think we did
three shows together – we just discussed the songs a little and then went and
played without a rehearsal. She really had it down from the start! I also wanted
her to sing something, so she did "Baby Please Don’t Go"..."
Livia Monteleone’s vocals are at their most impressive on tracks such as the CCR-
like "Lullaby", where her voice is not excessively overdriven and/or echoed to the
basement. Not that there’s anything wrong with Cillo’s and Fabio Magistrali’s
production – occasionally, it just seems a shame to blur real talent with artificial
effects, analog as they may be. Bob Cillo’s always impressive guitar playing has
matured into a distinctive, contemporary blues voice, and the way all the
instruments, loops and effects blend together into the organic whole that is Dirty
Trainload is often staggering.
The coolest tracks? It’s hard to pick one, but for me the guitar-banjo duel on the
instrumental "Wigdance" with its subtle tempo changes, chirping birds and the
percussion build-up really made it stand out. Of course, a sure way to gain favour
with any reviewer is to include some of his or her all-time favourites, done
recognizably but still with one’s own sound, touch and spirit, and with Elmore’s
"Stranger Blues" and the Wolf’s "Forty Four" Dirty Trainload have managed just
that. A very good album from an instantly recognizable 21st century band.
Dirty Trainload: Trashtown, 2011
Noisance aka Livia Monteleone (voice, drums, percussion, banjo, baritone guitar,
penny whistle); Bob Cillo (guitars, analog rhythm boxes, bass loops, foot
tambourine); Marco Del Noce (harmonica, Jew’s harp, washboard – special guest).
Produced by Fabio Magistrali and Bob Cillo
Links: Dirty Trainload website and MySpace
Contact: admin (a) blueswebzine.com
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