Debbie Davies

Debbie Davies
Holdin’ Court

Little Dipper Records - Vizztone Label Group

By Art Tipaldi
January 2010

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Throughout her recording career Debbie Davies has always focused on the lyrics in her songwriting. Her female perspective about human relationships provided a refreshing voice in the genre. But she has also spent her life immersed in studying the craft and discipline of her guitar. So after eight records, Davies is taking a leap and exploring new artistic territory with an instrumental effort that stretches the boundaries of her art. Because Davies has an expansive style and approach to music, these eleven songs recorded with only her band probe many blues guitar styles.

Though she’s always been most comfortable working in an Albert Collins groove or digging deep in a Texas shuffle, Davies shows a grace and style throughout. She opens the disc with Duke Robillard’s slinky “Fishnet.” With a funky foundation, Davies adds a devilish woman’s touch to Duke’s silky stockings. Bill Doggett’s “Honky Tonk” may be the archetypal rock and roll instrumental that started so many on the guitar. Here, Davies employs Paul Opalach’s rich Texas organ in her faithful revival of this 1950’s dance hall classic.

Other covers include a finger snappin’ workout on “Okie Dokie Stomp.” Drummer Don Castagno’s in-the-pocket jazz groove coupled with Casandra Faulconer’s strong bass line gives Davies the freedom to jump and swing. Earl Hooker’s slow blues “I Wonder Why” gives Davies the room to wring West Side emotion from her Strat. The delicious six minutes of guitaring affords her ample room to stretch out. Using wah-wah tones instead of a voice, Davies funkifies Albert Collins’ well known “If You Love Me Like You Say.”

Davies also recasts some of her own songs. Instead of the Latin vibe on her Tales From The Austin Motel CD, “Atras De Tus Ojos” wears a Kenny Burrell jazz suit. Utilizing only her guitar voice, Davies' stylish bends on “Tryin’ to Keep It Real” hammer home the song’s emotional message.

The CD ends with Davies returning to the guitar music of her California childhood on the surf meets space track “Zoom-in.” It may take a paragraph to tell about an emotion; Davies and her instrument can paint emotional colors with one note.

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