Review by Tom Dimopoulis
Entertainment, Saratoga Today, Saratoga Springs, NY
SARATOGA SPRINGS – A rollicking piano, nicely harnessed by a sturdy rhythm section, channels alongside the vocal sass of Annie Rosen and launches into Tommy Johnson’s 1928 “Big Road Blues,” introducing the sixth album by Capital/Saratoga region favorites Annie and the Hedonists.
Produced by Grammy award winner, Joel Moss and recorded at the legendary Dreamland Studio in Woodstock, the new album – “Bring it On Home” – features 12 vintage blues and jazz tracks from the 1920s through the 1950s, as well as a trio of original contemporary blues songs.
On Friday May 31, the band will stage a record release party at Caffe Lena.
The Hedonists – comprised of core members Annie and Jonny Rosen, Donald Young and Peter Davis – are accompanied by drummer Jerry Marotta, who spent two decades Jerry dividing his time between recording and touring with Peter Gabriel, Daryl Hall and John Oates, Tears for Fears, Joan Armatrading, Paul McCartney, and countless others. With “Bring it On Home,” the band is amiably assisted by guest musicians John Sebastian (yes, that one), Dave Davies (no, not that one), and Randy Reinhart.
“This record differs from the other five,” says guitarist Jonny Rosen, “in that we decided to focus on two related genres of music, as opposed to our previous albums which were an eclectic mix of folk, country, bluegrass, blues and jazz.”
The 12-song release features tasty renditions of a mid-20th century Parisian waltz (“Under Paris Skies”), a cornet and trombone mating that weaves through the sultry 1924 tune “Prescription for the Blues,” and a musical re-make of the Depression-Era protest song “The Panic Is Own,” whose updated lyrics include themes of the plight of the immigrant, the (lack of) gun control, rising oceans, Russian hackings and the ever-widening gap of economic inequality in a new world.
“Bring it On Home” also features a smattering of original tunes – from the Davis and Moss co-penned 12-bar blues femme homage “Bring It On Home To Mama,” to the love lost sorrow-cholic “Long Distance Call,” and “Who’d be knocking (Knocking on my door/ so late at night)” penned by Davies about one particularly strange pre-dawn awakening when the songwriter was startled from his slumber to find a stranger standing over his bed.
Annie & the Hedonists album release concert will stake place 8 p.m. Friday May 31 at Caffé Lena, 47 Phila St. Special guests: Randy Reinhart and Dave Davies. For reservations or more information, call 518-583-0022 or visit Caffe Lena. org.