For this seasoned guitarist, singer, and songwriter it’s hard to imagine the release of a new album so soon after the Grammy nominated and critically acclaimed Welcome to Deltaville album last year. This follows a year which saw Bobby Messano being inducted into the Blues Hall of Fame. To add to the commotion, the band hit the road in 2014 for an exhilarating 180 days to perform at 98 shows. That’s why Bobby Messano’s seventh solo album Love & Money, (release date April 15, 2015) is so special.
When asked the reason for the quick turnaround Messano said, “I was excited about using the touring band and I had a lot to write about…it’s my therapy!” Obviously, he does have a lot to write about. Released less than a year after Welcome to Deltaville this is an astonishing turnaround. Unlike his other albums, this latest feat is with his touring band featuring Suavek Zaniesienko on bass, Freddie Gasparini on keyboards, and Dave Hollingsworth on drums. Produced by Geoff Wilbourn, Whit Lehnberg, Bobby Messano and Adam Taylor, the album is an inward look that takes the listener on a journey to the darker side of obsession, desire, greed, and financial and professional challenges. All that dreary writing leads us to conclude Bobby Messano was dealt a rotten hand. Be that as it may, everyone gets the blues and the best way for Messano to rid himself of the blues is to write and play the blues. He puts his soul into every song, nothing is ambiguous here, and all is transparent. Messano’s songwriting is superb and leads us along the ups and downs in the life of the hardest working blues bands today. The road is a test of patience and endurance, however we find redemption through hope and reflection. Ultimately, in the case of Bobby Messano, he accepts the reprise as a “real blues boy.”
With the exception of Messano’s masterful rendition of “Had to Cry Today,” a Steve Winwood and Blind Faith classic, all the songs are original. Notable tracks include the opener, “April Showers,” co-written by long-time friend and band member Freddie Gasparini. It is a very bluesy song that sets the tone for the album with verses rolling off Messano’s raspy vocals sandwiched between bursts of electric riddled choruses. The albums title track “Love & Money” co-written by David Michael Rose is a fast paced swing, featuring a superb guitar solo with great rhythm tracks by the band. “Everything Is Gonna Be Alright,” also co-written by Freddie Gasparini, is a smooth flowing ballad with a great fiddle intro by Megan Bilodeau. Each of these tracks, as well as the rest of the album, are written with considerable skill and sensitivity.
Love & Money is a must have album for any collection! A superb piece of songwriting! A good mixture of music from bluesy improvisations all the way to Messana’s signature electrifying blues-rock. Buy it! While you’re at it, make plans to see Bobby Messano live this summer!
Author’s note: The release date of Love & Money coincides with the passing of Bobby Messano’s father, Albert Francis Messano. The album is dedicated to his Dad.