D.B. Rielly 'Cross My Heart & Hope To Die' - Shut Up & Play

Now this is a cracker, a varied and powerful follow up to his debut release Love Potions & Snake Oil. The album opens with the Telecaster twang of Rielly's version of the Bob Seger song about the lonesome nature of the touring musician's life. Using a tight band that includes Hiromasa Suzuki on guitar, Bruce Gordon on bass and Rohin Khemani on drums. The second track Wrapped Around Your Little Finger finds Rielly uses his fingers on accordion and rubboard on a cajun-inspired song that is a direct reference to his last album. To show the diversity of the songs here Some Day, by way of contrast, is a Chris Isaac/Roy Orbison style ballad about getting over heartbreak.

It might surprise that D.B. Rielly is living in New York where there are not a great many roots artists at work. But where ever he chooses to base himself Rielly is deserving of praise from fans and respect from his peers. He possess a strong, dependable and adaptable voice that is ideally suited to the delivery of these songs.

On some like Come Hell Or High Water or Your Doggin' Fool the songs are stripped back to just Rielly's voice, and simple, effective instrumentation such as guitar, banjo or accordion. Then a song like Moving Mountains aims for a bigger sound and has the rhythm section laying down a beat under Rielly's guitar, banjo and B3 on a song of faith and determination. 

It's Gonna Be Me has a dirty edge and some upfront electric slide guitar over Khemani's multiple percussion bedrock. Again another direction but one that sits well with the other songs. I sometimes read reviews that suggest and artist may be too diverse for their own good and should have maybe concentrated on a particular direction. Not so here, here it adds the spice that makes the album special. Rielly's music often deals with darker times but is not without humour or understanding of the how's and why's of any given situation and is therefore universal in its tone and language.

Offering yet another perspective is the closing song Fíorchroí (True Heart), it is a song of loss - a lament for a departed soul mate. It is given a Celtic heart by the use of accordion and penny whistle giving which gives it a reflective end to what is a largely up-beat and effective album that further underscores D. B. Reilly's worth as a compelling roots artist - cross my heart and hope to die (peacefully).