The Della Grants is a band that is close to my heart. Back in my early days of spinning the blues, probably 2011-2012, I came across a band whose sound was the blues-rock sound that I loved. A blues band committed to recording their own sound, their own songs, always seeking to make them better, to evolve. That band is The Della Grants.
The Della Grants’ major focus was on representing their live sound when recording The Live Room Sessions, Vol. 1, and I’m glad they did. If I had the privilege of being at a Della Grants performance (someday!), I would hear the songs I love with little tweaks and nuances that would make the performance unique. That’s what they the DGs do here on The Live Room Sessions, Vol. 1, but with bigger, bolder moves in the songs. (Compare “Too Fast” with the one on the earlier album “Time For Change” to see what I mean).
There are three new original tunes on this album, “The River,” “Sunrise,” and also “William Clay”. There is also a cover of “Midnight Special.” Strangely enough, that one didn’t draw me in as much as the other tunes, even though it is a song I know well.
In a few weeks when the weather gets a little nicer, you will find me in my garden in a comfortable Adirondack chair, a cold beverage to sip, with this album playing. I’ll imagine myself at a blues festival with The Della Grants on stage. I’ll press play on “More Than Pray” and revel in Max Manning’s heartfelt vocals as well as his incredible guitar solo towards the end. That’s the sound, that’s the vibe that captures me.
The reboot of “Weaker Man” to make it a jazzier, smoother sound which includes the trumpet is brilliant (Tony Robinson, also doing double duty on keyboards). Take note of Andy Boulton’s awesome bass riff at the beginning of that song while you’re at it. Tom Best’s harp throughout “Lay My Head” makes you want to get up and move! Finally, Tom Walker’s drums are the glue that pulls the band all together and keeps them on track.
The Della Grants have matured as a band, and in this album they have crafted their catalogue into what is, for this fan, an unforgettable body of work. It’s the stuff that makes you love music. You don’t need the historical perspective that I wrote about here to enjoy the band and their music. Just go to https://thedellagrants.com/shop and buy The Live Room Sessions, Vol. 1. And if you’re a music geek like me, get the physical CD. You’ll enjoy the design and liner notes reminiscent of what you’d get with a vinyl album back in the day.
Finally, if you’re lucky enough to live in the Leicester (UK) area, go see this band perform live. It’s vital to support independent music to keep it alive and well.