Maurice Tani 77 el Deora "Blue Line"- Western Independent

This Californian singer-songwriter is an entertaining and eclectic musician who can slip from honky-tonk to roots noir with ease. HIs band and guest singers are right there with him well able to assume the position that his mainly original songs require. There are a lot of highlights on offer here from the darker love-lorn despair of the ballad I Think Of You to the bar-room shuffle of When I'm Drinkin' (I Ain't Thinkin') to his late night cover of the Chuck Berry Nadine or his diverting take on the Bacharach/David classic Walk On By.

Tani allows his guests their space here as on New Dress where Pam Brandon takes the lead vocals and shows she has a equally strong vocal presence. As does Jenn Courtney who joins Tani on Three Flights to L.A. The lonely ambience of Red Wine is another slow complementation of sorrow alleviated through the intake of the aforementioned salve with the presence of saxophone highlighting the early hours bar-stool philosophy. The title track is a stripped back short story of street people and one Big Jimmy in particular that again emphasises the strength of Tani's noir writing and versatility of the overall direction of the album. Some have already made comment that this album may be too diverse and thatTani could make a full honky-tonk album that might find favour with one set of listeners but that would only be showing one aspect of his musical talents. 

This twelve track album, well thirteen if you include the bonus take on traditional touchstone Hank Williams' Your Cheatin' Heart, is testament to a talent deserving of wider exposure. Tani is a singer, songwriter, guitarist, producer and graphic designer who knows what he wants. Like many of the writers he admires that have gone before him Tani explores the darker sides of human relationships that are tinged with neon signs and alcohol sodden lies.