David Rotundo Band – So Much Trouble
Format: CD Digipak, Release Includes 12-page insert booklet with lyrics – Digital
“(Rotundo’s) harmonica chops obviously pass the Oskar test. The record sounds great. Yes, hard times are coming. In fact, they’re already here. And yet Rotundo manages to make us smile in the gloom.” – Brad Wheeler, Globe and Mail
Getting the chance to work with a hero and a mentor is certainly the dream of most artists. For Toronto singer/songwriter and harmonica virtuoso, David Rotundo, connecting with Lee Oskar was kismet.
The pair performed together in 2019 at the Annual Blues Festival in Puerto Escondido, and “Blues on the Beach” in Huatulco in Mexico and David signed as a featured artist with Lee Oskar Harmonicas later that year.
These like-minded souls have now joined forces with Oskar producing Rotundo’s latest album: “So Much Trouble.” “I’m so excited to have produced David’s new collection of music and thrilled to have David and his music as one of the first projects produced and released under my new record label,” says Oskar.
The twelve new tracks feature an all-star cast of musicians from Canada and the Pacific Northwest performing a breadth of material from juke joint blues ,hard driving soul and introspective anthems, with Rotundo’s gravelly tenor and emotive blues harp at the center of each arrangement.
Under Oskar’s sage direction the sessions captured each track in live off-thefloor single takes to maximize use of the energy and interaction from the players.
A driving train beat from award-winning drummer Andrew Cloutier propels the roadhouse boogie ‘She’s Dynamite,’ opening the set with dance floor filling zeal.
He gets passionate on the bumping slow blues ‘I Must Be Crazy,’ straining his emotions and his vocal cords, bolstered by dramatic solo from Ron Weinstein on B-3 and Milky Burgess on lead guitar.
Rotundo plays it cool on the slow burning ‘Funky Side Of Town,’ with his picture of life on the street given a cinematic musical backdrop that includes strings and choral underpinnings.
He further demonstrates his songwriter depth with the reflections on our current global struggles in the Delta Blues testimony ‘Hard Times Coming’ and the expansive title track reminiscent of a Pink Floyd anthem.
‘So Much Trouble,’ with its theatrical arrangement and pointed lyrics that will surprise and challenge casual blues fans. Rotundo trades vocal lines with Annie Jantzer and delivers harmonica leads in tribute to his mentor, Oskar, on the sultry swinging ‘Too Blue.’
Hot Hammond B-3 from Ron Weinstein and salty sax from Darian Asplund spice up the comic relief in the barrelhouse shuffle ‘Drinking Overtime.’
He reveals the inner workings of a man’s heart during the moody blues ‘That Thing Called Love’ and shares trials and tribulations of his journey through life on the gritty rocker ‘Trying To Find It.’
The delicate piano ballad, ‘Foolish Love,’ is a hymn to matters of the heart. A marvelous mixture of instruments including a world percussion ensemble, Dobro, strings, and chants are brought together for the global beat travelogue trance blues, ‘Long Road,’ that covers continents and a global musical message of peace and love.
Rotundo closes the set on an intimate solo reading of the vaudeville classic from 1924, ‘Trouble In Mind’ – just a man ,his guitar and harp singing the blues.
This album is the epitome of achievement like-minded creatives can accomplish and a milestone in careers of both Rotundo as an emerging recording artist and Oskar as a producer who shared a common dream.
Rick J Bowen
01. She’s Dynamite
02. I Must Be Crazy
03. Funky Side Of Town
04. Hard Times Coming
05. So Much Trouble
06. Too Blue
07. Drinking Overtime
08. That Thing Called Love
09. Trying To Find It
10. Foolish Love
11. Long Road
12. Trouble In Mind
David Rotundo – Lead Vocal, Guitar & Harmonica
Milky Burgess – Guitar(1-9,11)
Skylar Mehal – Guitar(5)
Desmond Brown – Guitar (2)
Ron Weinstein – Organ (1-3,5-10)
Ron Weinstein – Piano (1)
Ed Weber – Piano (7,10)
Andrew Cloutier – Drums (1-9,11)
Dean Schmidt -Bass (1-11)
Darian Asplund – Saxophone (1,5,7-10)
Phillip Peterson – Cello (3,11)
Joseph Ravi Albright – Tabla (11)
Denali Williams – Percussion (4,5,9,11)
Thor Dietrichson – Congas(3,11)
Ernesto Pediangco – Congas (11)