Darrell Nulisch has been around for a bit, having four discs previous to Just for You, all on the Severn label. The reason for that is instantly obvious: the soul side of the blues has been suffering a bit in the wake of an onslaught of burning rocksided efforts, and anyone who can dish it up like this is going to get noticed. His latest CD isn't a potpourri of just this, that, and the other thing, as is so often the case elsewhere, but rather a 100% showcase of very black-tinted blues from a white cat who jumped in over his head and found he liked it just fine.
With a backing crew of 17 musicians, Nulisch can go just about anywhere he wants: big band, cool jazz, San Francisco 60s, Motown, you name it, just as long as it has that slick and smooth hipsway and jive. Though he plays an occasional harp, the spotlight's on his somewhat Boz Scaggs-esque vocals…and Johnny Moeller's guitar work, a sound pealing out in precisely the right spots before fading back for satisfying and clever chord work (listen carefully to All the Love We Had for some alternatingly subtle and very noticeable surprises in wah and phasing). A brass octet provides strong Memphis vibes while Benjie Porecki's keyboards, with a slant on the organ, capture a smoky nightclub atmosphere.
I was looking for Duke Robillard's name in here, as he's been producinig exceedingly tight music along these lines, but, no, what we're hearing is the latest of the Severn label's very solid bids to rival the Stony Plain output. In that, Nulisch should be putting the sweat on the Duke just about now…as Robillard listens absorbed and admirative. And the blazing barnburners had better watch out as well: stuff like this can very easily sidle the hot boys out and dress the stage in a whole new set of threads.
Edited by: David N. Pyles
Copyright 2009, Peterborough Folk Music Society.
This review may be reprinted with prior permission and attribution.
Website design by David N. Pyles