Review: J.P. Reali – The Road To Mississippi

Posted on: Thursday, Nov 1, 2012

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J.P. Reali – The Road To Mississippi

(Reali Records: LLC RR 003)

There is nothing more fascinating than the process of evolution and J.P. and his music has, over the last thirty years significantly evolved, from being the lead guitarist in the Washington D.C. based psychedelic blues band ‘The Next Step,’ to then quite literally, taking his own next step in the nineties to form the acoustic / roots blues duo ‘The Reali Brothers,’ that was, until his first solo step with an acoustic debut in April of two thousand and seven.

Since then J.P. has continued to mix and meld the classic delta and piedmont styles with his own interpretations of twenty first century acoustic blues. This approach has so far led to two albums and this, his latest offering of twelve highly original compositions.

The majestically gentle Piedmont “Prelude,” leads into the stark, shocking and vehemence filled ‘field holler’  “Jefferson Lament,” here J.P. cuttingly and clinically delivers all the restrained emotional violence and horror a resonator slide can produce. A somewhat jollier delta blues is delivered on the title number with its very pleasing stomping and resonating slide slashing Robert Johnson accolades.

While in a more modern approach to classic themes we have “Biscuit Baking Momma” and “The Book or The Bottle,” the former alluding to his mommas ‘rolling’ abilities and the latter concerns the eternal clash of wine or worship, both these numbers are almost painful in their exquisite hypnotic delivery and accuracy of style.

J.P.‘s vocals are stark, plaintive and almost pleading while at the same time creating and delivering the right amount of expectation and desperation.

The well judged addition of Mark Wenner’s harmonica on such numbers as the racially aware “My Soul or My Skin” and the humorous little ditty “I Do My Share of Drinking adds a good deal of effective depth, drama and texture. The bright, breezy “Bloozin’ in the NYC,” is a  shuffling / tramping razor slashing slide of a number. The album tantalisingly finishes with “Coda,” a thirty five second slide slashing tasty taster.

All things considered this is a very fine album.

BRIAN HARMAN

www.jpreali.com

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