Lucid Culture

JAZZ, CLASSICAL MUSIC AND THE ARTS IN NEW YORK CITY

Album Review: Debra DeSalvo – Hoboken Demos

Her first album was called Electric Goddess, and this effort, her second, gets this prosaic title. She got it backwards. DeSalvo is best known as a fiery, virtuosic lead guitarist, a master of touch, tone and shading as well one of the most exhilirating fret-burners around. This cd highlights her songwriting, which falls somewhere between Scout, Neil Young circa Tonight’s the Night and PJ Harvey circa Raw. The songs here jangle and clang, build to catchy, crescendoing choruses and surprisingly don’t have as much wild guitar intensity as one would usually expect from her. The cd’s opening cut Welcome to the Boneyard is a bonafide classic, a gorgeously sad number sung from the point of view of someone beyond the grave. The following track All That I Need is a power pop smash that could be Scout or Patti Rothberg. After that, When It Comes Down (a big concert favorite) is the most guitarishly boisterous of the three. Yet what impresses here perhaps the most are DeSalvo’s vocals: she’s become a terrific singer with impressive range. Fans of the guitar pantheon – BB, Jimi, Gilmour, the Alberts (King and Collins), Debbie Davies, etc. – should not deprive themselves of the chance to get to know her. And for fans of Scout, this will be especially satisfying: DeSalvo has the same casual charisma as that band’s frontwoman A.K. Healey.

DeSalvo is also an author, and a very funny one at that: her book The Language of the Blues is imbued with heaping portions of the laugh-out-loud humor that until recently didn’t usually make it through the poker-faced intensity of her music. She and her power trio Devi (Hindi for “goddess”) play around New York every month or so.

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April 30, 2007 Posted by | Music, music, concert, review, Reviews, rock music | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments