Sunday, September 20, 2009
album review: Dani Wilde, 'heal my blues'
Artist: Dani Wilde
Title: ‘heal my blues’
Much like Motown, RUF Records has created a formula to produce “blues” albums with European overtones that are beginning to be embraced by a wide, white American audience. More than anything else the ‘Suburban Blues’ audience craves a wailing guitar and smooth melody lines. Recently I asked friends to name their top blues albums of the last decade; one said simply, “the one with the guitar solos.” And so it is.
At the dawn of this new millennium Europe seems to be making an effort to replicate the blues boomerang of England in the 1960’s and Wilde seems to be a full fledged member of that movement. To reach wider audiences radio and music gets homogenized. Wilde’s new album, ‘heal my blues’ is a near perfect example of the “demographic specific slotting” that we see in “pop” music today. Wilde’s songs are slick and entertaining; well arranged tracks that include appropriate blues textures and good production value. If you’re a listener that defines “authentic” blues as rough and unfinished; this is not an album for you. However, if you are among the vast unwashed masses that appreciate a well performed tune with sufficient emoted emotion and over arching guitar solos – you will probably be drawn into Ms. Wilde’s album. Harp playing brother Will Wilde’s wailing jumps in and out of the songs with apropos vigor. Surely this is exactly the type of album that radio programmers interested in building a larger audience will embrace. Wilde “sells” her music through visual as well as visceral content creating an enriched entertainment value that many acts today miss.
Is it credible? It’s British. Can the British play the blues? Some would say that from Peter Green to the Hoax, the answer has been yes. Will everyone agree? No. Does it matter? It only matters if it is your money. Is there a marketing machine behind Wilde and is it gathering momentum? Yup! Will you play it on your radio show? Until the cows come home. This is a packaged artist that can check all the boxes of being a blues artist but will not add anything to the genre; there is nothing original going on here (but the point is, there doesn’t have to be). Wilde’s music and showmanship is unlikely to create a circle of lasting influence or be escalated to significant stature by gathering critical acclaim. None-the-less, it is well done, it is fun and chances are good you’ll be seeing Wilde and band at a venue near you. Chances are even better that Wilde will strike a chord with appreciative festival audiences who use the term “great” with ease but with the usual lack of discernment.