10,000 Feet Below
Powerful Detroit Blues Rock That Simply Oozes Soul.
In fairness if I’d been in a record shop I would have quickly passed by this disc as the quirky artwork on the album cover says absolutely nothing about the music inside. Thankfully the shuffle mode on my I-Pod knows what my tastes are and threw up three track last week; and here I am revelling in the musical delights that Eliza Neals has to offer.
Track #1 Cleotus opens with some bottle neck Resonator guitar before Ms. Neals purrs into the mix with a hypnotic Gothic love song, that sent shivers down my spine.
This is followed by some more sublime bottle-neck on a Another Lifetime; which is the type of song Johnny Winter would have called, “Low down dirty Blues,” the type of passionata that you associate with Janis Joplin; but sadly Janis never sounded this damn good.
By the time we reach the title track 10,000 Feet Below Eliza has already run the gamut of nearly everything we know as ‘The Blues’ and here she fights and wins a battle with a heart-stopping bass and a scintillating guitarist in Howard Glazer; and the song itself is a peach.
Ms. Neals not only has a ‘Helluva’ voice; soft enough to be listened to repeatedly and gritty enough to be identifiable too; but she plays a mean piano (Rhodes and Hammond) too!
You Ain’t My Dog Anymore and Call Me Moonshine are modern-classic Blues-Rockers in the making; with Eliza sounding as sexy as a Hell-cat on heat while Glazer produces sparks from his guitar as the rhythm section keep the whole damn thing on the rails in the background.
Cold, Cold Night and Call Me Moonshine don’t just show the singer’s versatility but her knowledge of Blues History too with a couple of scorching ballads.
Sadly one of my favourite magazines Classic Blues closed down late in 2016; and one of their features would be a comparison between a modern take on a Classic Blues song with the original; and I’d be fascinated to hear what they thought about Eliza Neals interpretation of Skip James’ Killing Floor. This was one of the tracks I-Shuffle played and to be perfectly honest, I didn’t recognise it at first; which is a good thing if you are going to cover something; put your own stamp on it; and Eliza does that with spike heels!
With Blues Rock; everyone is going t. like something different; and Eliza offers a huge selection of entrées to choose from; but for me I simply love Downhill on a Rocket. A mid-paced, sassy and sleazy slice of Blues that wouldn’t be out of place on a Bonnie Raitt, Buddy Guy or (my hero) Johnny Winter album.
There are a lot of good young ladies in the Blues Rock field these days; with each one offering their own ‘speciality’ in their quest to oust Bonnie Raitt from the throne, and probably only Beth Hart currently has the skills and songs to crossover into the mainstream; but I think Eliza Neals, with Howard Glazer at her side could run her a good race judging by this wonderful album.
Released 17 February 2017