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).

D.B. Rielly 'Love Potions and Snake Oil' Shut Up And Play

This CD arrives in a tin with an old style medicine bottle graphic on the front which claims that it is an instantaneous cure for all afflictions but while I can't say it does exactly what it say on the tin it is an uplifting slice of accordion-fueled infectious grooving roots music. D.B. Reilly is a accomplished musician, singer and producer who has a made a potent musical mixture with songs that have a certain black sense of humour at times. Have a listen to I Got A Girlfriend and you'll get a good idea of the darker lyrical twist. His patented potion is equal parts of cajun, zydeco, roots country,blues and early rock 'n' roll. Rielly's emotive voice is equally adept at delivering a ballad like the heartfelt plea Don't Give Up On Me as he is at kickin' up some dust and letting go, as on the T. Rex-ish  groove of Loving You Again (mind you I've heard some 50's rockabilly riffs that are a dead ringer for T. Rex too so maybe it's a circle being completed. Any way the point is that this is one of those album that is enjoyable from start to finish and make's you feel good. So maybe his love potion works after all. Anyone who's liked what the Texas Tornados did in their heyday will enjoy this and you don't have to make my word for it you can go to www.dbrielly.com and samples some snake oil for yourselves. Although he has performed with numerous artists in the past this is his first full length and it makes you hope it won't be the last we hear of this particular medicine show man.