Review: Trent Romens – Aware

Posted on: Monday, Nov 7, 2011

(New Folk Records: NF 1426)

It seems that over the last few years most of the young blues and rock guitar slingers have emerged on our side of the ‘pond’, however here is an assured 10-song set from 19 years old Trent Romens, from Edina, Minnesota . . . he definitely has the requisite ‘chops’ in the guitar playing stakes, but even at his tender age he seems to have a pretty decent voice too!

In the company of John Wright (bass and co-producer), Tony Marshall (Hammond B-3), Jordan Carlson (drums), Tony Paul (percussion) and Cate Fierro and Shalo Lee (backing vocals) he kicks off “Aware” with the thumping “Stimulate Me”, with it’s stop-time and his fiery guitar underpinned by the afore-mentioned Marshall’s fine Hammond playing. He changes the pace on the country blues stomp of “Material Blues” – starting off on acoustic before changing to electric and featuring the fine backing vocals of Fierro and Lee.

He rocks hard on his own “Fairy Tale” which builds to a close with a blistering guitar solo, before he and the band stretch out over 7:35 on the blues classic, “Going Down Slow”, with searing slide intro over Marshall’s keyboards and plenty of dynamite soloing from Romens himself. The strutting “Right Back Where I Started” has a “Walking Blues” feel to it with impressive vocal from the young man and more slide fireworks. The release’s only other cover is a take on Big Bill Broonzy’s “Key To The Highway” . . . delivered here acoustically to show Romens versatility.

The ballad “Love’s Lost Cause” is a soulful original, his vocal ably backed up by Cate Fierro and Shalo Lee as the songs builds throughout its course, with more guitar fireworks at the end; the album closing with “Hey Now”, a return to the acoustic guitar, with a reggae feel – possibly inspired by the late, great Bob Marley – plus harmony vocals and the percussion of Tony Paul . . . a nice ending to a fine release from a name to keep an eye on for the future.


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