Steve Gerard and The National Debonaires

Steve Gerard and The National Debonaires
Words Are Like Bullets

Blue Edge Records

By Peter "Blewzzman" Lauro
December 2010

Since 2007, I have anxiously been awaiting a new release from Steve Gerard and The National Debonaires. That's the year their previous release, “New Sounds from Kansas City,” impressed me so much that I awarded it the “BLEWZZY” - an annual award I bestow upon a band for the best CD I've reviewed that year. There's no questioning the fact that “New Sounds from Kansas City” is going to be a tough act to follow, but knowing their ability - and the fact that other than the drummer, the nucleus of the band is still intact - I'm thinking the band is up for the task.

“Words Are Like Bullets” features Steve Gerard on guitar and bass; Dave “Elmo” Bailey on vocals; Patrick Recob on bass; Dwight Ross Jr. on drums; and Mike “Shinetop Jr.” Sedovic on keys. Guest Debonaires include: Mike Clark on tenor sax; Greg “Junior” Demchuck on guitar & harmonica; Preston Hubbard on double bass; and Lee McBee on harmonica. “Ain't My Problem,” a bonus track written by Steve Gerard and previously released by Sean Carney's “Blues For A Cure,” features Steve and Sean on guitars; Gene Walker on sax; and the members of Trampled Under Foot which include: Danielle Schnebelen on bass; Kris Schnebelen on drums; and Nick Schnebelen on vocals and guitar.

Does he make his intentions clear enough when he says “Baby Get Your Skirt Up Now?” I think so! Watch out for Elmo: It's Saturday night, he's got his fat paycheck in hand and partying on his mind. Meanwhile, the whole band’s frolicking along with him on this smoker. It features some of the disc’s hottest guitar, piano and rhythm work. Ya also gotta love the idea about the skirt.

While looking to “Find The Answer,” the band slips into one hell of a blues groove. The kind that usually has me saying “this is my kind of stuff:” Howling blues vocals from Elmo, scorching blues guitar riffs from Steve, hot harmonica chords from Lee, and downright right blues notes on the piano from Mike. Man, this IS my kind of stuff.

“One Handshake” is musically, and lyrically, the disc’s best work. The musicians are all at their peaks, and Elmo sings his heart out as he states truths such as: “One hand shake, don't make me your friend,” “One night of loving, don't mean it's gonna happen again,” “One friendly smile, ain't what it might be,” and more. Great phrases - great song.

“It Didn't Happen That Way,” but the picture this song paints will have you thinking you're listening to it in a dimly lit, smoke-filled jazz joint. On this lazy, jazzy number, Mike, Preston and Mike are collectively the perfect three-piece combo on the piano, bass and sax. They're an excellent fit with Elmo's solid vocals.

As he prays out loud, the earnestness of his asking makes it quite clear how serious Elmo is about wanting to shed an “Air Of Negativity.” He obviously needs help and knows how and who to ask for it. The melancholy vocals and somber rhythm make this one sad song.

The last track and certainly one of the best, is the bonus track called “Ain't My Problem.” This one's loaded with highlights, especially the three different guitar leads by three different and very talented guitarists. Sean Carney starts it off, Steve Gerard takes it over and Nick Schnebelen closes it out - and does a hell of a job on the soulful vocals as well - all with his Trampled Under Foot siblings supplying the smooth and soft rhythm groove. Real good stuff.

Other tracks on “Words Are Like Bullets” include: “Uh Oh,” “Bullets In The Barrel,” “Silly Boy (To The Max),” and “Oscar's Safe At Bing's Place.”

You can check out Steve and the guys at There you'll be able to learn more about the band, pick up their discs and tell them the Blewzzman sent ya. Should you be interested in reading the review of their earlier award-winning release, just go to and click on the ”Blewzzy” link.

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