|Whoever said you can’t have some fun playing the blues? Pacific Northwest group Michele D’Amour and the Love Dealers certainly had a good time with their new offering, Hot Mess. The eleven new tracks of the group’s seventh album are a high-spirited collection of snappy swing, sizzling funk and rocking blues with rapier wit lyrics from award-winning songwriter D’Amour. Composed and refined during the last two years, topics run the gamut from wild woman, hot rod cars, social issues, hound dogs and the Devil himself. D’Amour took her crew, comprised of bassist Patrick McDanel, drummer Carl Martin, sax man Noel Barnes and the newest “Love Dealer,” guitarist Richard Newman, into Seattle’s ElectroKitty studios to record with Garrett Reynolds. Keyboardists Tom Worrell and Philip Woo were brought in to add fine piano and organ to three tracks as well. The atmosphere of the sessions was clearly electric as they yielded energetic performances of boisterous material that undoubtably were a cathartic experience for all involved.
The title track, ”Hot Mess,” bursts out like a steam valve on high pressure boiler with a blast of Wah Wah and saxophone as D’Amour chastises a friend who is on the edge. McDanel’s knee deep bass line leads the group into a spooky take on Dr John’s night tripper classic “I Walk On Guilded Splinters,” and its voodoo groove. The album art was inspired by the surf rock love song to a flaming ‘46 Ford “Plum Crazy.” The heavy-duty funk rocker “Devil In The Dark,” speaks to hypocrisy of the demons in saintly garb all around us. D’Amour advises caution for those in the dating scene over Newman’s gritty guitar riff during “If The Shoe Fits,” and Worrell drops in fine barrelhouse piano on the country-tinged tale of the trials and tribulations of adulting in these chaotic times “Muddlin’ Through.”
Newman penned the smooth R&B number, “Helping Hand,” that features fine saxophone, and organ along with a message of hope. Do not mistake the easy-going groove of “It Won’t Break My Heart,” with happiness — this is one tough break-up song. A sleek rhumba lays the underpinning for the mournful tale of the wildfire season in “Cold Red Sun,” painting the picture of a devastated western vista. D’Amour has a little fun with the concept of a sugar daddy in reverse in the salty Chicago-styled “Nurse With A Purse,” and the hilarious double entendre’d ode to the neighborhood pest “Your Dachshund Won’t Leave Me Alone,” is a nod to Marcia Ball that’s set to a spicey New Orleans beat from Martin, greasy slide guitar from Newman, and funky sax from Barnes.
Michele D’Amour and the Lover Dealers have created a relatable, gritty, soulful, thoughtful set of songs while keeping their sense of humor on this strong new album.
Rick J Bowen
Michele D’Amour grew up in West Seattle and was a child prodigy on piano at the age of six. She also started singing very early on, performing in her church choir. Michele also enjoyed writing from an early age and became a published poet in her late teens. Later, Michele earned her chops singing with several different local bands and writing her own music, winning a Grand Prize in the John Lennon Songwriting Competition in 2017.
Patrick McDanel, another Seattle native, started his music career as a professional trombone player before switching to bass after sustaining an injury in the 1990s. He has toured nationally and internationally with various bands. He plays bass and sings backing vocals. Patrick is a veteran of the national music scene, having played with notable bands and acts as either a regular player or fill-in. One of his favorite career moments was playing at the Apollo Theater.
Carl Martin (drums) is originally from Southwestern Ontario, Canada. He has played with a host of bands and solo artists, playing a variety of styles in many diverse venues. Over the years, Carl has honed a style that several musicians have described as “solid as a rock.” His philosophy is simple: to listen and support the music. Playing so many different types of venues and styles has helped Carl to beautifully support what is happening around him, and he locks in stunningly with Patrick.
Born in New Orleans and raised in Memphis, Richard Newman is a producer / guitarist based in Seattle, Washington. Newman is a fingerstyle player, lighting up both acoustic and electric traditions. Funky and syncopated, rootsy and twangy, he plays slide guitar with French roots rockers The Beau Goss Band, and is producing records with local blues harp legend, Steve Bailey. Richard also lived and played in Tokyo, Japan, for over 15 years. Blues lovers are going to love this addition to Michele D’Amour and the Love Dealers.
Michele D’Amour and the Love Dealers have released six albums: Sin Comin’ On in February 2014; Ante Up in March 2015; and Lost Nights at the Leopard Lounge in June 2017. 2018’s Wiggle Room spent 13 weeks at #1 on Roots Music Report’s Jazzy Blues chart. In 2019, they released Heart of Memphis, which debuted at #3 on the Roots Music Report and spent 13 weeks at #1 on the Roots Music Report. Christmas in Blue, released Nov. 1, 2019, spent 6 weeks at #1 and 7 weeks at #2 for blues Christmas album on the Roots Music Report. Their seventh and latest album is Hot Mess, releasing October 14, 2022.
The band was awarded “Best Blues Band” by LA Music Critic in January 2019. Heart of Memphis earned the group three silver medals from Global Music Awards in 2019 for Female Vocalist, Band, and Album. The band enjoys interacting with fans by wandering through the audience, enlisting audience members as backup singers, and whatever other mischief they come up with!