Peter Merrett, PBS106.7, Melbourne, Australia

** BOBBY MESSANO – “Bad Movie”
Label: The Prince Frog Record Company
*Bobby Messano : All guitars, lead and background vocals.
*Ed Canova : Bass guitar, background vocals and hand claps.
*Nioshi Jackson : Drums, percussion, background vocals and hand claps.
*Alecia Elliott-Fisher : Duet vocal on “Water Under The Bridge”.
*Jon Tiven : Saxophones on “Unconventional Wisdom” and “American Spring “.
*Pete Gallinari : Organ and piano.

*** Track 1. – “Bad Movie ” Written by Bobby Messano & Jon Tiven.
Blues troubadour Bobby Messano, (member of the New Jersey Blues Hall of Fame), has probably forgotten more about Blues than most will ever know. That being said here we have his latest offering and we kick it off with the title track that is a romping Texas inspired one. Messano instantly displays his amazing guitar chops with a devil may care take no prisoner style that is also reflected in his withering vocals. Very solid rhythm section from Jackson and Canova. Great start to the album that certainly gets the listener salivating at the mere thought of what is to come.

*** Track 2. – “Come To Your Senses” Written by Brian May (Queen) & Jon Tiven.
Slow smouldering Blues that is quite atmospheric in delivery. Solid percussion resonates throughout as Messano’s guitar weeps and moans in a somewhat mimilmist manor that is very beguiling that adds to the pathos of this ballad. Messano’s vocals are touching and expressive. Great track.

*** Track 3. – “Why Water A Dead Rose” Written by Bobby Messano & Jon Tiven.
Not one to rest on his laurels Messano delves deep into his soul with this stunningly constructed ballad. Throughout there is a tangible passion that quite frankly is riveting. Proving less is more, histrionics are not needed with this one and the crescendo of Messano’s guitar is heart stopping such is the majesty of it. Pleading heart on sleeve vocals tear at the heartstrings as the rhythm section are sublime and subtle without over doing the emotion that would render the song into schmaltz.

*** Track 4. – “Road To Oblivion” Written by Bobby Messano & Jon Tiven.
Not just a brilliant exponent of Chicago and Texas electric Blues Messano takes us on a trip down south for some stunning acoustic Dobro with this perfect Hill Country song. What a revelation this one is and an unexpected addition to what is already showing to be an outstanding album. Wonderful rhythm section with the obligatory flat bass drum sound that is reminiscent of a time long past. Very drum and fife in structure but wow what an amazing track.

*** Track 5. – “Unconventional Wisdom” Written by Bobby Messano & Jon Tiven.
Powerful Blues Rock offering featuring blistering guitar from Messano, Jackson and Canova driving a potent rhythm section. Messano again displays his power packed vocals that lend well to the required intensity of this track. Add to that inspired backing vocals from Canova and Jackson. Tiven delivers the subtle saxophone that rounds out this high octane sound that most certainly doesn’t leave you wanting. Again the incredible dexterity and creativeness of Messano and band rises to the top.

*** Track 6. – “Too Good To Be True” Written by Bobby Messano & Jon Tiven.
Not one to be tied down Messano now takes us to Memphis for a serving of some funky, funky soul stew ala Muscle Shoals. Infectious make you dance groove with wonderful backing vocals courtesy of Canova and Jackson. Wherever our musical journey takes us on this album it is always first class and again Messano’s vocals are suitably soulful and pleading.

*** Track 7. – “If The Phone Ain’t Ringin’, It’s Me Not Callin’ ” Written by Bobby Messano & Jon Tiven.
Bo Diddley was most famous for his jungle beat shave and a haircut – two bits style. Messano doesn’t sit back taking it easy and do a note for note copy of Diddley but rather adds his very own unique interpretation of it. Quirky lyrics help produce a catchy enjoyable song very suitable for dancing. For me there is a hint albeit just a slight hint of good ole country about this one but then again. Background vocals add to the raw power that Messano delivers with his frantic vocalising. The rhythm section pumps and does so hard. Not one for the feint hearted.

*** Track 8. – “Never Too Late To Break A Bad Habit” Written by Bobby Messano & Jon Tiven.
This one is certainly more in the Rock & Roll vein than previous tracks but in the soundscape of this diverse album it is a wonderful inclusion. Messano and Tiven are consummate song smiths who have a deft ear and touch that is displayed within this album with every facet of the Blues covered. Hard to go past a hard driving rock song!

*** Track 9. – “Water Under The Bridge” Featuring Alecia Elliott-Fischer. Written by Bobby Messano & Jon Tiven.
Here we have another stunning addition to the album with this first of two tracks featuring Messano and Elliott-Fischer dueting beautifully. Quite an emotional song with an acoustic sound track that showcases Muscle Shoals native Elliott-Fischer’s vocals that draw a more sympathetic tonality from Messano that is so very engaging. For me this one could have been taken straight from the American traditional Country music songbook. This is how you structure and memorable song that will be played over and over again.

*** Track 10. – “You Left Me No Choice” Featuring Alecia Elliott-Fischer. Written by Bobby Messano & Jon Tiven.
Just when you think Messano has taken us across the US of A from coast to coast he then takes a divergence to the Caribbean and Jamaica in particular. Here we have the omni-present off beat of Reggae in all of it’s contagious idiosyncrasies. Elliott-Fischer once again lends her stunning voice to this one and it certainly leaves an indelible mark on the song. Perfect percussion and bass that along with Messano’s guitar weave that instantly recognisable groove. Heartfelt Blues collides with Reggae and it works.

*** Track11. – “The Girl That Got Away” Written by Bobby Messano, Jon Tiven & Larry Weiss.
Late night Blues club fare that can be found any night of the week in a Chicago nightclub. Sexy sophisticated Jazz inspired Blues that oozes from the speakers caressing the senses. Messano’s guitar is languid but extremely sophisticated with a mesmerizing tonality. Wonderful bass runs from Canova punctuate the mix as Jackson is subtle with his drums. Listen closely and you would swear you could hear the clinking of glasses.

***Track 12. – “I Thought We Had This” Written by Bobby Messano & Jon Tiven.
On this one Messano enlists his effect pedals to add another dimension to his sound that again is stunning. Quite a singer songwriter type of offering that features backing vocals from Canova and Jackson. This one certainly bops along and is extremely infectious. Solid vocals and the band once again nail it!

*** Track 13. – “We Need A Blessing” Written by Bobby Messano & Jon Tiven.
Messano delivers a no apology questioning to immigration policies that fil the news broadcasts and newspapers. Very pointed as he questions just what it is that is dividing Americans. Quite a question and statement that has so many arguing and perplexed. Maybe this should be an accompanying song to Billy Joel’s seminal historical statement “We Didn’t Start The Fire” in 1989. There are so many questions and reasons for why we are Americans put forward by Messano and Tiven. Debate is two sided and can be high jacked for the wrong reasons so a clear head and responsible discussion is needed. It is time to find our way again. Great questioning vocals from Messano and squealing guitar for good measure.

*** Track 14. – “Is It Too Much To Hope For A Miracle” Written by Bobby Messano, Jon Tiven & Steve Kalinich.
Here again we have another socially aware song questioning just what is wrong in our society today. Gallinari takes us to church with his keys that adds to the pathos of this song that indeed asks for a “miracle”. Why are people so negative and why can’t they see that what they are doing is wrong to fellow human beings. Pleading but not preaching vocals from Messano display an engaging frailty. So to think about brought about by s succinct look at the world we live in. Harkens back to John Lennon’s “Give Peace A Chance”.

*** Track 15. – ‘American Spring” Written by Bobby Messano, Jo Tiven & Larry Weiss.
Not one to be fettered after two socially aware offerings Messano and band draw on their rock & roll inner selves’ for the final track of this epic album. Jangly guitar, snare laden drums and driving bass pound this one along and have Tiven laying down the saxophone for good measure. It’s a case of rock hard or go home so Messano and band don’t hold back.

I sit here and think back to what l have just heard and l am simply in awe of Bobby Messano and his band. Not content to just give us a straight up and down Blues album Messano decided to take us to every facet of the music we love. This was fearlessly executed with inspired songs that fully encapsulated those different styles like no other. Messano is a virtuosic guitar player and one who has obviously payed his dues over so many times. One only has to listen to his chord progressions and runs to realise just how good he is. As a singer he has his very own distinct style that he shape shifts effortlessly also from one style to another throughout the album. The band is absolutely stunning and the addition of Alecia Elliott-Fischer on two duets is inspired to say the least. This may be a diverse album but it is one that comes together with a stunning synchronicity that is just too damn good to ignore. The song writing is insightful and brilliant in it’s originality. Absolutely faultless and an album everybody should hear. Blues of many styles but still Blues all the same.
There you have the first one Betsie, gee this is a mighty fine album and one l just know everybody is going to love. So many styles and feels that includes two insightful social commentaries. It’s great to hear a singer not afraid to tell it like it is.

 

Bad Movie LPHERE’S WHAT PEOPLE ARE SAYING ABOUT “BAD MOVIE”

 

BAD MOVIE

Great rockin’ Blues doesn’t get any better than this. Thirty seconds into Bad Movie you already know you’ve got something special to groove on. Congratulations Bobby, and congratulations to me, for I’ve got a new favorite album. The sounds on this record are phenomenal, quality & content. It didn’t have to be, but it is perfect.

Pat St John (Legendary DJ)

 

BAD MOVIE

I always expect good playing and singing from Bobby, but this may be the best songwriting of his that I’ve heard.  While stylistic precedents are clear (Hendrix’ Fly On My Sweet Angel is the template for Why Water a Dead Rose, etc), these songs are fleshed out in personal experience that sounds like RECENT personal experience.  I had to smile at the ‘Work of Fiction’ declaration in the package – there must be someone out there who doesn’t want to be portrayed as the star of a Bad Movie.

 

 

Talkin’ the Blues with Microwave Dave

WLRH / WJAB FMs

 

BOBBY MESSANO – Bad Movie (Prince Frog Record Company BM1-41517)

Posted by Norman John Darwen on May 24, 2017 at 12:41

 

Guitarist, singer and bandleader Bobby Messano has many years experience of working with rock artists like Steve Winwood and country artists like Jimmy Wayne and Rodney Atkins. Yet in his own right he is known as a contemporary blues artist, and certainly the first few tracks here point to him as an accomplished blues-rocker, with an influence from the British blues-boomers of the late 60s, and Jimi Hendrix (try ‘Why Water A Dead Rose’ for the latter). The vast majority of this album’s fifteen songs are written by Bobby and Jon Tiven together – and Jon’s name is an assurance of quality in itself these days. Elsewhere Bobby builds on the Mississippi hill country sound (‘Road To Oblivion’) and brings the Bo Diddley beat into the 21st century on ‘If The Phone Ain’t Ringing, It’s Me Not Callin’’. Contemporary country crops up with the beautiful acoustic based duet with Alecia Elliott from Muscle Shoals, an observation on the current political scene, whilst their other collaboration, ‘You Left Me No Choice’, is a reggae flavoured number. ‘The Girl That Got Away’ is moody and thoughtful, ‘We Need A Blessing’ is a pleas for a more equal society, and the set closes out optimistically with the Springsteen-esque rock anthem that is ‘American Spring’. Give it a listen!

Norman Darwen

 

 

ALBUM REVIEW

Bobby Messano— Caught In a Bad Movie

Bobby Messano – Bad Movie

BY FRANK GUTCH JR.
MAY 24, 2017

You know. Like dreaming you’re in class with no underwear. Like trying to run but your legs won’t co-operate. Like getting hit by a bus on your way to the lottery office to cash in that winning ticket. That kind of bad. I’m chuckling while writing this because Bobby, in the video for “Bad Movie,” actually gets hit by a bus. Well, not actually, but a lousy film version of it. First time I saw it, I spewed coffee. Funny as hell.

I watched that video a number of times before I realized that one of them cowboys was named Duck Rivers. I know a Duck. Doesn’t look a thing like that, though.

Messano is a blues player. First blues comic I’ve ever heard. Member of the Blues Hall of Fame, it says on his PR sheet. I dunno. Could a guy who looks like this play the blues? And why can’t I find a lady like that? I was in a building with a girl like that once. They asked me to leave. Bada-bump! See what listening to Messano does to you?

It definitely messes with my head, the way Stevie Ray Vaughn did, and The Nighthawks. I saw The Nighthawks at a club years ago. Messano could easily have been on the stage, he’s that good! And you who don’t know The Nighthawks? You can’t talk rockin’ blues until you do. It’s a law.

Bobby has had one hell of a career. He started out with bands The Stanky Brown Group (Unfortunately, the one I have he does not play on), STARZ, and has even played with Gloria Gaynor. But the blues was always his comfort zone. You can probably tell it from his earlier albums but I guarantee you can tell it from Bad Movie. He rocks the blues, grooves the blues, and moans the blues. He even sings the blues which, if you think about it, is downright amazing when you take into account the many years he has been performing (pretty much non-stop). And he does it with such ease and flair that you somehow know this guy was meant to play the blues.

Messano won me over right away with his playing but if he hadn’t I would love the guy for his sense of humor. We have messaged a few times and it is a delight. Not since Keith Morris of The Crooked Numbers fame have I laughed so hard. I mean, I love his music but I love his wit too.

Look, you need to hear the music to understand who he is, but you have to know who he is to understand the music too. Here he is doing an interview with whom I assume is an old friend. This is Bobby Messano without the guitar in his hands, open and honest. This is the Bobby Messano I will be following from this point on.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Bobby Messano

Bad Movie

Prince Frog Record Company BM1-41517

 

Born in New Jersey, in 1954, Bobby Messano has almost always been a part of the American music scene.  He has toured with STARZ, Lou Gramm, Stevie Winwood, Clarence Clemons, Frankie & the Knockouts, Peter Criss and more.  His past 5 releases have garnered 26 Grammy 1st Round ballots in 8 categories.  ‘Nuff said.  Who am I trying to fool?  Y’all know me well enough to know I have a big mouth and love to use it.  Bad Movie is the latest in a string uneasy state of the  blues and blues/rock CDs that have established him as an essential part of the contemporary blues scene.  This is a diverse piece of work that runs from straight-ahead blues and Americana with bits of country, reggae, funk & soul.  Well versed in many styles, Messano has been around the block a time or two, which goes a long way in explaining his way with words.  It should be noted the almost everything on the disc was either written or co-written by Messano, who is a masterful guitarist, songwriter, vocalist and a great storyteller.  In the tradition of bluesmen and songsters throughout the ages, Bobby speaks his mind on everything from the uneasy state of world affairs to loves lost and found and so much more.  This is not your run of the mill blues album, but what it is, is really good music, rooted in traditional blues styles.  This is a set that will have people flocking to the dancefloor, and, just generally having a good time.  If I had to pick a favorite tune, it would most likely be the Bo Diddley -flavored “If The Phone Ain’t Ringin’, It’s Me Not Callin’.”  From searing guitar to soulful ballads, Bobby Messano has every avenue covered, and covered well.  Straight, dead-on blues, peppered with music rooted in the blues and related styles, I found it to be an excellent work.  This is worth a good listen and then some. – Bill Wilson

 

Bobby Messano is an American singer guitarist with a very diverse musical past. For example, we find him in the sixties garage rock band The Shadows Of Knight, the hard rock band Starz and the pop band Franke & The Knockouts. In addition, he also played releases of Clarence Clemons, Peter Criss (Kiss), Gloria Gaynor and ex-Rainbow singer Joe Lynn Turner. A very versatile artist so.

Now there is his latest album ‘Bad Movie’, which he is assisted by Ed Canova on bass, Nioshi Jackson on drums, Jon Tiven on saxophone and Pete Gallinari on tests. The fifteen (!) Songs on the CD were written in collaboration with Jon Tiven, Larry Weiss and Steve Kalinich.

The title number removes this disc and adjusts the tone correctly. A solid pumping blues rock shuffle with guitar work that hits the sparks. Messano asks in this song whether his life is to be compared with a bad movie. In any case, mergers provide a wonderful bluesrock song. Next to Come To Your Senses is a soul-blues ballad in the best Robert Cray tradition. And that’s not surprising if you know that this song was written by Jon Tiven, who worked with Robert Cray in the past. He also wrote this song together with Queen Guitarist Brian May. Some Queen influences can not be heard in this soulful song. Messano delivers a sensitive yet divisive guitar solo and also proves to be vocal to his male. Why Water A Dead Rose is the resting point on this CD. A song that made me think of Jimi Hendrix in terms of atmosphere, but also in melody.

On Road To Oblivion, Messano switches to the acoustic guitar. This does not matter to the rest of the album, because this is a nice blues song. In Unconventional Wisdom, Messano’s hardrock’s history is most obvious. A funky rocker with a barely audible Jon Tiven on saxophone. A nail swinger !!!

For a fun swinging funk we can go to Too Good To Be True. It’s an unfinished job to stay still (or stand) with this song. Messano proves that he does not turn his hand for fine funky guitar work. If The Phone Is not Ringin ‘, It’s Me Not Callin’ is a somewhat strange rocker with a Bo Diddley rhythm. This disappointing, simple song is saved by Messano’s clever guitar. Well, a great song title by the way!

Never Too Late To Break A Bad Habit is a mid-tempo rocker, which could be included in the repertoire of, for example, John Hiatt. A rocker full of rootsrock influences. In the ballad Water Under The Bridge, Messano is singing along with the singer Alecia Elliott from Muscle Shoals, Alabama. This song also tends to rock rock, which is also caused by Elliott’s prime country voice.

The second song to which Alecia Elliott was doing did not require me. You’ll hear them together in the reggae song You Left Me No Choice. I’ve never been such a fan of white reggae, and that’s definitely not going to change this track. Even Messano’s raw guitar work can not save this bad song.

Fortunately, Messano switches to a soul-blues song, The Girl That Got Away. Again, you will think of Robert Cray again. Nice song! I Thought We Had This is a mid-tempo shuffle with a light jazzy feel. The song has a nice swinging rhythm and fine wah-wah guitar work. Then the light funky We Need A Blessing comes over. A song in which Messano gives his image of life in America. The song title says enough in this case. Musically this song is in the soul-blues corner.

Is It Too Much To Hope For A Miracle is another strange duck in the musical bite. This acoustic song is a bit in the folk rock corner and reminded me of Barry McGuire’s Eve Of Destruction.

The CD is closed by the uptempo rocker American Spring, a no-nonsense swinger with a rootsrock feel.

 

Only three doubts on a CD with fifteen numbers. An excellent bluesrock CD, which will be in the taste of fans of, for example, Walter Trout or Chris Duarte, but also with fans of the roots rock.

Great album!

BAD MOVIE

When we reached Bobby Messano’s new album “Bad Movie”, we immediately explored his 2013 album “Welcome to Deltaville”, which he recorded with the wonderful Deanna Bogart. We were greeted by the wonderful interplay of these two Blues musicians, who are doing their business with so much heart blood.
As on “Welcome to Deltaville”, the smooth guitar playing on “Bad Movie” looks like a stool. No matter if the number is more in the Bluesrock direction, Messanos game always has something soft. And when they are ballads, he expresses his grief with the guitar so perfectly that one can feel every emotions up close. Bobby Messano even lets his guitar purr if he wants.
If we also reveal that Bobby Messano is an excellent composer at work, one will understand our joy about “Bad Movie”. With his newcomer, he even got the support of Jon Tiven, Larry Weiss and Steve Kalinich in writing, resulting in a greater variety. The stylistic range is correspondingly large and provides magnificent examples of Texas blues rock over country blues to blues ballads. Even soulful and funky it becomes. He also does not shy away from reggae. Nevertheless “Bad Movie” does not disintegrate. All pieces of the album have the expression and sound typical of Bobby Messano, which has a connecting effect.
The texts are not just about blues-typical themes (women, women, women). Messano is concerned about the state of the world and the USA. It would be bitterly necessary that not only Bobby Messano, his thoughts, so that the news from the US does not constantly remind of a bad movie.
In view of what Bobby Messano delivers with “Bad Movie”, we are not surprised that Steve Winwood, Lou Gramm and Countrystars Jimmy Wayne, Rodney Atkins and Steve Holy wanted him as musical director. His stylistic versatility and sensitivity as musicians do not have many.

Rating
Produktion: 0 von 10Arrangement und Instrumentierung: 0 von 10Sammlungswert und Exotik: 0 von 10Eingängigkeit / Mainstream: 0 von 10Klang / Sound: 0 von 10Anspruch und Innovation: 0 von 10Songwriting / Komposition: 0 von 10Beiheft / Booklet: 0 von 10Gesangliche Leistung: 0 von 10

Tracks
01 – Bad Movie – 00:04:33
02 – Come To Your Senses – 00:04:05
03 – Why Water A Dead Rose – 00:05:16
04 – Road To Oblivion – 00:03:03
05 – Unconventional Wisdom – 00:04:32
06 – Too Good To Be True – 00:03:40
07 – If The Phone Ain’t Ringin’, It’s Me Not Callin’ – 00:02:20
08 – Never To Late To Break A Bad Habit – 00:04:05
09 – Water Under The Bridge – 00:03:55
10 – You Left Me No Choice – 00:03:58
11 – The Girl That Got Away – 00:03:40
12 – I Thought We Had This – 00:04:57
13 – We Need A Blessing – 00:03:29
14 – Is It Too Much To Hope For A Miracle – 00:04:25
15 – American Spring – 00:03:52

Bobby Messano review…April 29, 217….

Posted by dvcrow56 in Uncategorized.

 

BOBBY MESSANO

BAD MOVIE

THE PRINCE FROG RECORD COMPANY

BAD MOVIE–COME TO YOUR SENSES–WHY WATER A DEAD ROSE–ROAD TO  OBLIVION–UNCONVENTIONAL WISDOM–TOO GOOD TO BE TRUE–IF THE PHONE AIN’T RINGIN’, IT’S NOT ME CALLIN’–NEVER TOO LATE TO BREAK A BAD HABIT–WATER UNDER THE BRIDGE (FEAT. ALECIA ELLIOTT)–YOU LEFT ME NO CHOICE (FEAT. ALECIA ELLIOTT)–THE GIRL THAT GOT AWAY–I THOUGHT WE HAD THIS–WE NEED A BLESSING–IS IT TOO MUCH TO HOPE FOR A MIRACLE–AMERICAN SPRING

Guitarist Bobby Messano has served as the musical director for Steve Winwood, Lou Gramm, and several others, along with releasing seven albums of his own.  His vast musical contributions also earned him a well-deserved spot in the New Jersey Blues Hall Of Fame.

He teamed up with writers Jon Tiven, Larry Weiss, Steve Kalinich, and Queen legend Brian May for the fifteen cuts that comprise his latest effort, “Bad Movie.”  Over the course of this album, Bobby and his writing team take us on a musical journey thru bouts of love gone sour, a country gone to Hell in 100 days, breaking one’s bad habits, and gathering salvation through the music itself.  They had a lot to say on this album, and said it in a lot of different ways.  So, let’s get down to it!

Some Texas twang kicks off the title cut, as Bobby’s lover has gone, turning his life into one long, “Bad Movie,” and he gits while the gittin’ is good, leaving a bad lover, because “It’s Never To Late To Break A Bad Habit!”

Bobby forges some good times on this set, too.  Check out the ol’ Elias McDaniel beat on another cool left jab-right cross combination at another lover, “I don’t care who yer ballin, If The Phone Ain’t Ringin’, It’s Me Not Callin!’  And, he’s joined on two duets by Alecia Elliott, the poignant “Water Under The Bridge, and this bridge is under water now,” and the “reggae-Mon” of “You Left Me No Choice.”

Our favorites lended themselves to Bobby’s humorous side.  A stout shot of Delta slide paves the path “down the Road To Oblivion,” while a political system that was broken at best now finds itself swirling down the toilet in those oft-mentioned one hundred days, as Bobby has “Faced The Nation and Met The Press,” and begs for some “Unconventional Wisdom.”

With a little help from his friends, Bobby Messano has vowed to us he’s gonna “stick around and sing!”  And, with “Bad Movie,” us fans are the real winners!  Until next time…Sheryl and Don Crow, The Nashville Blues Society.

 

BluesBytes

Life is full of challenges for us all. Dramatic life events, the loss of a job, a home, a significant other, etc. — all have the ability to throw us for a loop. How we respond to life’s challenges is a measure of our resiliency and our ability to go on. In Bobby Messano’s case, he channeled all of the emotions he was feeling into an intense writing session with one of Nashville’s most gifted lyricists, Jon Tiven. Steve Weiss lent his writing talents to two of the songs, Steve Kalinich another and Brian May of Queen offered Bobby a tune he had co-written with Jon. All in all there are 15 tracks on his new disc. Bad Movie features Bobby’s most heartfelt songs to date. If there’s such a thing as a classic Bobby Messano record, Bad Movie is it.

Bobby opens with the title track, “Bad Movie,” and we’re off and running. An upbeat rocker, “Bad Movie” finds Bobby looking for answers to the pain he’s feeling. “Is this a bad movie…I’ve seen it before…things didn’t turn out so groovy.” Bobby’s feeling heat for a situation he didn’t cause and he’s at a loss as to how to respond, “If this was a short, it wouldn’t be so bad…but it’s an epic of major proportions…it’s a bad movie.” We move on to “Come to Your Senses,” and here Bobby’s hoping the woman he loves will appreciate the love he has for her. “Let me hear you, baby…say you love me…one more time…cause when the chips are down…you’ve got to come to your senses…you gotta be mine.” There’s no guarantee she’s going to see things Bobby’s way, but he’s very clear about the love he feels for her. Bobby’s fretwork is amazing and it’s some of the most passionate guitar playing I’ve ever heard from him.

At some point, enough is enough and you know a love has died. Bobby reaches that point and shares it with us in our next track, “Why Water a Dead Rose.” “Call me optimistic, I suppose…I had to see it…right in front of my nose…that endless place where nothing grows…why water a dead rose?” Being the invested person in a one-sided relationship is never easy and Bobby’s facing that stark truth here by baring his heart to the world. “Road to Oblivion” has a Hill Country feel to it and Bobby’s traded his Delaney axe in for a Dobro as he picks this tune. “I’m going down the road to oblivion…have you been this way before…I’m going down the road to oblivion…it has fields I can’t ignore…game over and no overtime, so I can’t make that one last score.” Bobby’s right in one regard, we don’t know how he’s feeling until we live it. Hopefully, this mood will pass and Bobby will head back on the road to the living.

Sonic tones are in full force as we move on to “Unconventional Wisdom,” and Bobby’s fed up with the world as he knows it. “Manipulation…stimulation…all I want is an explanation…give me unconventional wisdom…if you’re not too busy keeping score.” Definitely a political statement about the country as Jon and Bobby see it, hopefully things will turn around and it will all start to make sense. There’s a funky beat to our next track, “Too Good to be True,” and here Bobby realizes he might have known the truth a little bit sooner if he’d bothered to look beneath the surface. “If something’s too good to be true…time to wake up to reality…but I really liked the way you lied to me.” Bobby bought the stories and lies of the woman he loved and he might have woken up to reality a lot sooner if he’d honestly bothered to look a little deeper.

I like the hard driving tempo of our next track, “If the Phone Ain’t Ringin, It’s Me Not Callin’.” There are times in life where you just have to cut your ties with the one you loved and move on. “Not that I don’t care about what you’re doing…being around you would be my ruin…I could care less who you’re balling…if your phone ain’t ringin…it’s me not calling.” Bobby’s fretwork is front and center as the band hits the intro to the next cut, “Never Too Late to Break a Bad Habit”. “I should have known better…she couldn’t hide her user side…the way she took them for a ride…I just never thought she’d do that to me….dagnabbit…it’s never too late…to break a bad habit.” It sounds like Bobby found himself being taken for a ride and fortunately he was able to end things quickly before they got out of hand…it’s never too late…to break a bad habit.

Our tempo slows down a bit when Alecia Elliott joins Bobby for the first of two duets on “Water Under the Bridge.” Alecia has a beautiful voice and this tune is both hopeful and sad, all at the same time. Bobby breaks out the acoustic guitar for this tune as they sing, “you suddenly have to face…the finish line for the human race…are you willing to believe…that God has something up his sleeve…but that’s water under the bridge…that’s all that time will allow…that’s water under the bridge….and the bridge is under the water now.” Things are definitely tough now but hopefully the water will recede and the bridge to a better world will reappear.

“You Left Me No Choice” is another tune with a funky beat and Alecia’s back at the mic with Bobby for this tune as well. Bobby’s still dealing with the aftermath of his failed relationship and the difficulties he’s facing in ensuring it ends completely. “Didn’t want to set…the Sherriff on you…you didn’t leave me options…what else could I do…if living with me was your personal hell…tell, me…how’s the room service in your 6 x 6 cell…I’m sorry, Babe…you left me no choice.” Despite all the pain his ex-lover cost him, Bobby still laments her departure and he shares his lingering feelings for her with us in “The Girl that Got Away.” “Now the closet’s half empty…so I got myself more room…but damn, it’s full of my favorite perfume…no way to chase it out…the lingering bouquet…of the girl that got away.” Bobby’s passionate fretwork echoes the love that he once had and now all he has left is the memories of another time and place, a much happier day.

“I Thought We Had This” finds Bobby continuing to reflect on his relationship and his confidence that they could work through their difficulties and keep their love intact. “I thought we had this…but I was wrong.” That pretty much sums it all up in a nutshell. “We Need a Blessing” finds Bobby reflecting on the current state of affairs in our country and the need for unity across all races, creeds and colors. “We are Americans…and we love living here…we have lost our way…and need a blessing to appear…we are Americans…we need a blessing to appear…to open up a way we know is clear.” It’s no secret that our country is currently on a path of troubled times and Bobby is definitely right…we need a blessing to appear.

Messano continues this thought process as he segues into “Is It Too Much to Hope For a Miracle.” “Is it too much to hope for a miracle…to pull us through…is it too much to hope for a miracle…don’t know what else to do.” Bobby’s a spiritual person by nature and the turmoil he knows the country is going through weighs heavily on his mind. It’s a point of reflection that we’re all going through at this point in our nation’s history. We need to stand strong for our rights and ensure the future for our children, their children and all of those who come after us. It’s definitely not too much of a stretch to hope for a miracle to show us the way.

Bobby closes with “American Spring” and a note of optimism for the future. “This old boy’s going to stick around and sing…of the American spring.” Whatever the future brings, Bobby’s going to stand tall with the rest of us as we face the future together.

It’s an interesting juxtaposition to me — the way Bad Movie combines the personal tragedy of a love gone wrong and the world facing the challenges it does today. Bobby’s emotions in dealing with the various challenges of a relationship ending are poignant and deeply personal. His concern for our country and the turmoil many are experiencing is equally as personal, but in a different way. Knowing Bobby the way I do, I’m sure he’s hoping to wake up in the morning with a new take on life and the optimism to tackle the personal and national challenges head on. And in a way, I would wish that for everyone.

Bobby’s just beginning to ramp up his touring schedule and his performance dates, as well as the opportunity to grab a copy of Bad Movie, can be found on his website at www.bobbymessano.com. This is by far Bobby’s most personal record to date and I appreciate the self-reflection he went through to write such intensely elegant tunes. I said it at the beginning and I’ll repeat it here, Bad Movie is a classic Bobby Messano record, right out of the gate.

— Kyle Deibler

 

Professor Johnny P’s Blogspot

Bobby Messano is one talented man. If you look at his previous albums, you’ll see a track record that includes multiple award nominations, sessions and tours with some of the best known names in the industry, and the respect of his peers and colleagues. That’s if you look at the albums.

If you listen to the albums, you’ll find an artist who is deeply committed to exploring his world, both on a personal and global level, and finding the intersection where those two meet. His latest album, Bad Movie, continues that exploration, and the result is an immensely enjoyable album that features some of the best lyrics of the year.

Most of the words and music on the album were written by Messano and his writing partner Jon Tiven. Tiven is another master whose work has been performed by such luminaries as Rick Derringer, Barrence Whitfield & the Savages, The Symptoms, Huey Lewis and the News, The Jeff Healey Band, B.B. King, Don Covay, Syl Johnson, Donnie Fritts, Freddie Scott, Mack Rice, Wilson Pickett, Robert Cray, Johnny Winter, Buddy Guy, Shemekia Copeland, and Irma Thomas.

Not too bad of company to be in.

Messano also worked with Larry Weiss and Steve Kallnich, while Tiven turned in a collaboration with Queen co-founder Brian May.

The musicians on the album include Messano who plays guitar and sings lead vocals; Ed Canova on bass and background vocals; Nioshi Jackson on drums, percussion and backing vocals; Tiven on saxophone; and Pete Gallinari on organ and piano. Alecia Elliott Fisher supplies vocals for two duets and provides additional backing vocals.

The album starts out with the title track, Bad Movie, which can either make or break an album. Sometimes it’s best to let the album develop before unleashing the title track, but here Messano opens with it, much like the credits of a movie. Is his life, and by extension, our lives nothing but a bad movie? Like I said earlier, the lyrics are pretty wild throughout. It’s a blistering number that is thought provoking and illuminating at the same time. And good. Damn good.

The next song, Come To Your Senses, is slower and just as intense. Messano’s vocals are smoother and the song is lush. This is the song written by May and Tiven and there are several May touches on the guitar parts. The lyrics are dark, many of them are on the album. This one will be making the rounds of the blues shows.

With a title that sounds like it belongs on a country album, Why Water A Dead Rose is anything but a country tune. It does start out low and slow, and while it builds into the longest song on the album (only about 5:15, so not that long), it has a slightly different approach. It’s very poetic and the dark lyrics fit the blues beautifully.

Messano follows with Road To Oblivion, a straight up blues song. Traveling on roads with a guitar, it doesn’t get more blues than that. This is one of my favorite songs on the album and I know it will be appearing on Time For The Blues very soon. I don’t know about you, but this song speaks to me on so many levels.

The blistering Unconventional Wisdom follows. The guitar intro has an evil feel to it and the heavy percussion adds to the overpowering feeling of the song. This one has a serious look at the world, and it’s not at all a flattering reflection. It’s got some serious rock edges to it, but it’s a strong song through and through.

Next up is Too Good To Be True, a funky song with some cool guitar licks. The lyrics are razor sharp and Messano’s vocals are honed to a sharp edge. The drums really make the song, keeping that beat and allowing Messano’s choppy guitar to take over.

Messano follows up with what is probably my favorite song on the album, If The Phone Ain’t Ringin, It’s Me Not Callin’. Got to love that title, it’s clever and the song is played at a very fast pace. It’s the shortest song on the album, right at 2:20 and it packs a lot into a short time. This is punk rock fueled blues with a Bo Diddley beat.

He then segues into a good advice song, Never Too Late To Break A Bad Habit. It’s a lesson I never learned, but it sure makes for a good song. The rhythm section does a great job laying down the track and Messano uses his guitar as much as a weapon as an instrument.

The first song to feature Alecia Elliot’s vocals in a duet with Messano is Water Under The Bridge. Their voices blend nicely and the song takes on a much different feel. It’s a sweet pop/country song with some good lyrics. The second duet, You Left Me No Choice, has a reggae feel to it and the combination of the two songs reinforces my belief that Messano has the ability to take on many different genres. I also think his choice of Elliot as a singing partner was a wise one. She has a sweet but powerful voice.

A slow seductive number follows. The Girl That Got Away is a sad song of loss and continuing to go on afterwards. Messano is vulnerable on this number, opening up all of his emotion, while the song has a little bounce to it. It’s a good song and one that definitely catches your imagination.

I Thought We Had This starts off with a swinging rhythm, but the lyrics reveal a darker side. I’ve always enjoyed those songwriters that can get you thinking one way and then put in a big twist that takes it in a different direction. The music doesn’t match the lyrics, and that’s a very cool thing. The surprise makes the song more memorable to me.

The drums start off We Need A Blessing, and lay down a solid beat for the guitar and vocals. It’s another look at the state of America. This goes beyond political leanings, this is about what Americans face on a daily basis, and the fact that we could use some divine intervention to help the situation. Good song addressing social issues in the way the folk movement and even some of the ‘60’s rock songs addressed their social issues in order to raise our consciences.

The song, Is It Too Much To Hope For A Miracle, is a perfect bookend to the previous number. If we need a blessing, is it too much to hope for one? I’m glad to see more musicians using their voices to speak out for those that don’t have a voice. Good number.

Messano concludes the album with American Spring. It’s a rocking number that completes the trilogy of songs about the condition of the country and the issues it faces. “Let’s put our hearts together/We’ve got to take control,” is one helluva lyric that sums up what many feel about our current situation. I’m not taking sides here, I think both the left and right are part of the problem, but maybe, just maybe we can find a way to meet in the middle and find solutions.

If you’re not already a fan of Bobby Messano, this is a good album to start. He’s really poured himself into this one and left everything on stage. The songs are tight, well written, and I think you just might find several that speak to you. Be sure to check him out. I know that he performs often in the Northern Virginia, DC, and Maryland areas because I checked out his website: http://www.bobbymessano.com/ .

In fact, one of his upcoming shows is in Deltaville, the location of one of his previous albums, and a place unlike any other on earth. Situated on the Chesapeake Bay, Deltaville is a peaceful oasis in a troubled time. When you go to visit, there’s a different mindset, and a host of troubles can disappear while watching the sun set.

That’s the show I’m going to try to catch. Hope you’ll join me.

 

Making A Scene

 

Rhetta posted: “Bobby Messano has been up and down the scale a time or two in a lot of years of playing music. He has been music director for Steve Winwood and Lou Gramm and for county artists Jimmy Wayne and Rodney Aikens. For his own solo work, he chose to play and sin”

 

 

Bobby Messano – ‘Bad Movie’

by Rhetta

Bobby Messano has been up and down the scale a time or two in a lot of years of playing music. He has been music director for Steve Winwood and Lou Gramm and for county artists Jimmy Wayne and Rodney Aikens. For his own solo work, he chose to play and sing the blues and he has released seven albums. Every album seems to me to be the best, but I truly believe Bad Movie tops them all.

Great blues comes from real and powerful emotion and requires an artist  wiling to reveal his whole soul to his listeners. Bobby is that sort of artist. He wrote or co-wrote all but one of these songs and  some of them are heartfelt political commentary,  but like many musicians, life on the road has led to some romantic misadventures and they do indeed, sound like a very bad movie. And like blues men do, he weaves these bad experiences into song, often with a mix of heartbreak and humor.

All of these songs are great by themselves, but Bobby has stressed to this writer that you should really listen to them in order. So let us begin with the opening track, which builds like it should be over the opening credits and then bursts into a raucous Texas-style rant (which has spawned a deeply entertaining video as well.)

The next song, “Come To Your Senses,” is a soulful plea for a  lover to come back. It is the only song Messano did not have a part in  writing. It was written by Brian May of Queen and Jon Tivens, and it is perfect for Bobby’s voice. He then delivers a beautiful, brooding ballad, which also showcases the sensitive side of his guitar playing and gives us the first real glimpse of Bobby’s battered heart, “Why Water a Dead Rose?” This is one of my two  favorite tracks.

The blues then turns more country as Bobby treats us to some tasty acoustic dobro, adding a light touch to a trip down “The Road To Oblivion,” stepping momentarily away from the bad romance to broaden the scene and let us know what else is bothering him: the state of the country. He takes a catch phrase and makes it actually mean something in the rocking “Unconventional Wisdom,” a full-out cry for an explanation that actually makes sense for what’s going on.. From the “Bad Movie” point of view, this placement makes sense. Messano’s life is going through great change and so is the country. The best tools he has to make sense of anything are honesty, humor, and the blues.

“Too Good To Be True” returns us to Bobby and that really bad girl, with some funky guitar and Memphis soul. Plot-wise, we are moving into bitterness here and in the cleverly titled “If The Phone Don’t Ring, It’s Me Not Calling,”he gives us enough information to understand why, with a fine cinematic twist on Bo Diddley as well.

“Never Too Late To Break a Bad Habit” introduces some hard-earned wisdom in a solid rock song. “I Thought We Had This” has a slight swing and some very clever lyrics.

“Water Under The Bridge” is an album highlight as Alicia Elliott joins Bobby for this acoustic ballad about what we all need to do to save the world. Taking a sharp emotional turn, Messano gives us more of his dreadful relationship with the brutally honest “You Left Me No Choice,” buffering the blatant heartache with the light reggae style. “The Girl That Got Away” is a smooth jazzy lament and testimony to despair but the listener can hear the beginning of acceptance and the start of moving on in its nostalgic tone.

The last few songs turn us back to politics as Bobby addresses further what he believes, tackling the immigration issue in “we Need A Blessing” and then asking “Is It Too Late To Ask For a Miracle?”

The album ends on the optimistic “American Spring,” in which Bobby  gives us his answer to overcoming anything,”This boy is going to stick around and sing.” And lucky for us,too.

it just proves a Bad Movie can make a brilliant album!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

PRINCE FROG

BOBBY MESSANO/Bad Movie:  Millennials and those younger might listen to oldies radio and enjoy the tunes, but this is the kind of set, made by a guitar slinging cat that has rubbed elbows with lot of those oldies radio greats, they probably won’t get.  This isn’t just a geezer cutting loose, this is a rocker cutting loose.  The soaring sound of freedom in a blues/rock mode is the stuff that set many nights on fire  Hard, heavy and hard rocking, Stones sympathizer Jon Tiven keeps the aim true here with loads of satisfaction delivered throughout.  All the right moves without feeling like they are moves, this is how you kick out the jams, mother—–. (not afraid to say it, just trying to beat isp filters).

41517

 

Volume 40/Number 164

April 14, 2017

MIDWEST RECORD

CHRIS SPECTOR, Editor and Publisher

Copyright 2017 Midwest Record

 

Peter Merrett, PBS106.7, Melbourne, Australia

 

** BOBBY MESSANO – “Bad Movie”

Label: The Prince Frog Record Company

*Bobby Messano : All guitars, lead and background vocals.

*Ed Canova : Bass guitar, background vocals and hand claps.

*Nioshi Jackson : Drums, percussion, background vocals and hand claps.

*Alecia Elliott-Fisher : Duet vocal on “Water Under The Bridge”.

*Jon Tiven : Saxophones on “Unconventional Wisdom” and “American Spring “.

*Pete Gallinari : Organ and piano.

 

*** Track 1. – “Bad Movie ” Written by Bobby Messano & Jon Tiven.

Blues troubadour Bobby Messano, (member of the New Jersey Blues Hall of Fame), has probably forgotten more about Blues than most will ever know. That being said here we have his latest offering and we kick it off with the title track that is a romping Texas inspired one. Messano instantly displays his amazing guitar chops with a devil may care take no prisoner style that is also reflected in his withering vocals. Very solid rhythm section from Jackson and Canova. Great start to the album that certainly gets the listener salivating at the mere thought of what is to come.

 

*** Track 2. – “Come To Your Senses” Written by Brian May (Queen) & Jon Tiven.

Slow smouldering Blues that is quite atmospheric in delivery. Solid percussion resonates throughout as Messano’s guitar weeps and moans in a somewhat  mimilmist manor that is very beguiling that adds to the pathos of this ballad. Messano’s vocals are touching and expressive. Great track.

 

*** Track 3. – “Why Water A Dead Rose” Written by Bobby Messano & Jon Tiven.

Not one to rest on his laurels Messano delves deep into his soul with this stunningly constructed ballad. Throughout there is a tangible passion that quite frankly is riveting. Proving less is more, histrionics are not needed with this one and the crescendo of Messano’s guitar  is heart stopping such is the majesty of it. Pleading heart on sleeve vocals tear at the heartstrings as the rhythm section are sublime and subtle without over doing the emotion that would render the song into schmaltz.

 

*** Track 4. – “Road To Oblivion” Written by Bobby Messano & Jon Tiven.

Not just a brilliant exponent of Chicago and Texas electric Blues Messano takes us on a trip down south for some stunning acoustic Dobro with this perfect Hill Country song. What a revelation this one is and an unexpected addition to what is already showing to be an outstanding album. Wonderful rhythm section with the obligatory  flat bass drum sound that is reminiscent of a time long past. Very drum and fife in structure but wow what an amazing track.

 

*** Track 5. – “Unconventional Wisdom” Written by Bobby Messano & Jon Tiven.

Powerful Blues Rock offering featuring blistering guitar from Messano, Jackson and Canova driving a potent rhythm section. Messano again displays his power packed vocals that lend well to the required intensity of this track. Add to that inspired backing vocals from Canova and Jackson. Tiven delivers the subtle saxophone that rounds out this high octane sound that most certainly doesn’t leave you wanting. Again the incredible dexterity and creativeness of Messano and band rises to the top.

 

*** Track 6. – “Too Good To Be True” Written by Bobby Messano & Jon Tiven.

Not one to be tied down Messano now takes us to Memphis for a serving of some funky, funky soul stew ala Muscle Shoals. Infectious make you dance groove with wonderful backing vocals courtesy of Canova and Jackson. Wherever our musical journey takes us on this album it is always first class and again Messano’s vocals are suitably soulful and pleading.

 

*** Track 7. – “If The Phone Ain’t Ringin’, It’s Me Not Callin’ ” Written by Bobby Messano & Jon Tiven.

Bo Diddley was most famous for his jungle beat shave and a haircut – two bits style. Messano doesn’t sit back taking it easy and do a note for note copy of Diddley but rather adds his very own unique interpretation of it. Quirky lyrics help produce a catchy enjoyable song very suitable for dancing. For me there is a hint albeit just a slight hint of good ole country about this one but then again. Background vocals add to the raw power that Messano delivers with his frantic vocalising. The rhythm section pumps and does so hard. Not one for the feint hearted.

 

*** Track 8. – “Never Too Late To Break A Bad Habit” Written by Bobby Messano & Jon Tiven.

This one is certainly more in the Rock & Roll vein than previous tracks but in the soundscape of this diverse album it is a wonderful inclusion. Messano and Tiven are consummate song smiths who have a deft ear and touch that is displayed within this album with every facet of the Blues covered. Hard to go past a hard driving rock song!

 

*** Track 9. – “Water Under The Bridge” Featuring Alecia Elliott-Fischer. Written by Bobby Messano & Jon Tiven.

Here we have another stunning addition to the album with this first of two tracks featuring Messano and Elliott-Fischer dueting beautifully. Quite an emotional song with an acoustic sound track that showcases Muscle Shoals native Elliott-Fischer’s vocals that draw a more sympathetic tonality from Messano that is so very engaging. For me this one could have been taken straight from the American traditional Country music songbook. This is how you structure and memorable song that will be played over and over again.

 

*** Track 10. – “You Left Me No Choice” Featuring Alecia Elliott-Fischer. Written by Bobby Messano & Jon Tiven.

Just when you think Messano has taken us across the US of A from coast to coast he then takes a divergence to the Caribbean and Jamaica in particular. Here we have the omni-present off beat of Reggae in all of it’s contagious idiosyncrasies. Elliott-Fischer once again lends her stunning voice to this one and it certainly leaves an indelible mark on the song. Perfect percussion and bass that along with Messano’s guitar weave that instantly recognisable groove. Heartfelt Blues collides with Reggae and it works.

 

*** Track11. – “The Girl That Got Away” Written by Bobby Messano, Jon Tiven & Larry Weiss.

Late night Blues club fare that can be found any night of the week in a Chicago nightclub. Sexy sophisticated Jazz inspired Blues that oozes from the speakers caressing the senses. Messano’s guitar is languid but extremely sophisticated with a mesmerizing tonality. Wonderful bass runs from Canova punctuate the mix as Jackson is subtle with his drums. Listen closely and you would swear you could hear the clinking of glasses.

 

***Track 12.  – “I Thought We Had This” Written by Bobby Messano & Jon Tiven.

On this one Messano enlists his effect pedals to add another dimension to his sound that again is stunning. Quite  a singer songwriter type of offering that features backing vocals from Canova and Jackson. This one certainly bops along and is extremely infectious. Solid vocals and the band once again nail it!

 

*** Track 13. – “We Need A Blessing” Written by Bobby Messano & Jon Tiven.

Messano delivers a no apology questioning to immigration policies that fil the news broadcasts and newspapers. Very pointed as he questions just what it is that is dividing Americans. Quite a question and statement that has so many arguing and perplexed. Maybe this should be an accompanying song to Billy Joel’s seminal historical statement “We Didn’t Start The Fire” in 1989. There are so many questions and reasons for why we are Americans put forward by Messano and Tiven. Debate is two sided and can be high jacked for the wrong reasons so a clear head and responsible discussion is needed. It is time to find our way again. Great questioning vocals from Messano and squealing guitar for good measure.

 

*** Track 14. – “Is It Too Much To Hope For A Miracle” Written by Bobby Messano, Jon Tiven & Steve Kalinich.

Here again we have another socially aware song questioning just what is wrong in our society today. Gallinari takes us to church with his keys that adds to the pathos of this song that indeed asks for a “miracle”. Why are people so negative and why can’t they see that what they are doing is wrong to fellow human beings. Pleading but not preaching vocals from Messano display an engaging frailty. So to think about brought about by s succinct look at the world we live in. Harkens back to John Lennon’s “Give Peace A Chance”.

 

*** Track 15. – ‘American Spring” Written by Bobby Messano, Jo Tiven & Larry Weiss.

Not one to be fettered after two socially aware offerings Messano and band draw on their rock & roll inner selves’ for the final track of this epic album. Jangly guitar, snare laden drums and driving bass pound this one along and have Tiven laying down the saxophone for good measure. It’s a case of rock hard or go home so Messano and band don’t hold back.

 

I sit here and think back to what l have just heard and l am simply in awe of Bobby Messano and his band. Not content to just give us a straight up and down Blues album Messano decided to take us to every facet of the music we love. This was fearlessly executed with inspired songs that fully encapsulated those different styles like no other. Messano is a virtuosic guitar player and one who has obviously payed his dues over so many times. One only has to listen to his chord progressions and runs to realise just how good he is. As a singer he has his very own distinct style that he shape shifts effortlessly also from one style to another throughout the album. The band is absolutely stunning and the addition of Alecia Elliott-Fischer on two duets is inspired to say the least. This may be a diverse album but it is one that comes together with a stunning synchronicity that is just too damn good to ignore. The song writing is insightful and brilliant in it’s originality. Absolutely faultless and an album everybody should hear. Blues of many styles but still Blues all the same.

 

 

“…This is a mighty fine album and one l just know everybody is going to love. So many styles and feels that includes two insightful social commentaries. It’s great to hear a singer not afraid to tell it like it is.”

 

 

 

Bad Movie

Bobby Messano

The Prince Frog Record Company

15 Tracks

What keeps a veteran blues artist traveling down that same road in search of that one tune, that one album that will take their career to another level, reaching that goal they have spent a lifetime trying to achieve? Bobby Messano has traveled many roads over his extensive musical career. He will be the first to tell you as any musician can testify, that the journey is not always an easy one. As a blues fan, I can certainly appreciate his lifelong commitment to continue down that road to deliver his rare talent of creating both live and studio music. With every new album and performance, Bobby has that ability to bring his fans something new and creative every time.

After returning in 1990 from a European tour with Robin Beck, a singer from BrooklynNew York, Bobby took notice of Gary Moore’s new blues album Still Got the Blues. After playing blues earlier in his career and seeing Moore’s successful shift from rock to blues, he made the career decision to follow the same path to enter the blues world. It really takes that leap of faith to follow your heart and change directions in the middle of a career, knowing full well that confidence in yourself will be the driving force to your success. Over a period of 27 years he has made the transition from a blues guitarist, doing other music, to becoming a blues artist in the true sense of the word.

His seventh solo release, Bad Movie is about life and all the curves it may throw you along the way. It offers a new fresh approach to blues music like every new album he releases. The vocals, musicality, and song writing on his new release offer something more that has to be experienced first hand. From beginning to end this album has Bobby Messano’s personal stamp on every song like no other album he has released. Each original tune has well written and thought provoking lyrics and a personal life long connection, making it one of the best of his long career. Bobby Messano has reached the summit of his long rewarding career with Bad Movie the first co-written with other writers. Jon Tiven and Bobby co-wrote wrote 14 of the songs with the help of writers Steve Kalinich and Larry Weiss about Bobby’s story following a tumultuous 18 months in Messano’s life, completing the lyrics for the project before heading into the studio. In a recent interview, Bobby is quoted as saying “the best story sometimes about yourself is the one that someone else writes about you.”

The album opens with the title track the first written by Bobby Messano & Jon Tiven and like you would expect from Messano, delivers hot, electrifying guitar solos. They move suddenly into the stealthy ballad “Come To Your Senses” written by Brian May of Queen and Jon Tiven, with guitar riffs as expressive as a live performance of “My Guitar Gently Weeps.” This is woven into the deep, steady, reverberating groove heard from the rhythm section of Canova on bass and Jackson on drums. “Why Water a Dead Rose” is one of deepest, most emotional ballads that I have heard written by a blues artist. It’s an original tune that most people can relate to at some point in their lives. Listening to this tune evokes memories that will take you back and replay over and over in your mind like a bad dream. The song unfolds with poetic lines like “There’s no sunlight in this garden”  and continues later with “Love leaves in its wake, just ghosts and souvenirs that we carry in our hearts with our tears through the years. You know I’ve got plenty of those, my pain and regret it still shows, I’ve got woes from my head to my toes but why water a dead rose, held up my end but you chose to leave me, that’s the way it goes, so the only question I pose is why water a dead rose?” The band takes you down that “Road To Oblivion” to satisfy your craving for some Southern soul. “Unconventional Wisdom” again releases the fury of those explosive guitar solos and powerful, passionate vocals, building throughout the song with the same force as a sudden storm, summarizing the political arena today. The band slips into some funky Memphis soul delivering a shimmering, sultry ’60s sound, with Bobby taking full command of the lead vocals to compliment his funky guitar groove, backed by the vocals of Canova and Jackson on the track “Too Good To Be True.” With a steady underlying Bo Diddly beat, Bobby lays it on the line with support of powerful backup vocals and intense slide guitar as he delivers his message with intensity on the original tune “If The Phone Ain’t Ringin’, It’s Me Not Callin’.” With the rhythm section establishing a hard, driving beat, “Never Too Late To Break A Bad Habit” rocks on with Messano’s blistering guitar riffs reminiscent of that little old band from Texas. Messano continues to tell a story of life’s surprises, sparing no details with a script that nobody would believe as a duet with Alecia Elliott-Fischer in the tune “Water Under the Bridge.” “You Left Me No Choice” is a blues ballad done Reggae style with Alecia Elliott-Fischer once again joining Bobby with her angelic vocals. “The Girl That Got Away” is a great blend of emotional late night blues and jazz, sending you down that long road called loneliness. With his haunting vocals and guitar solos, he leaves you with a vivid portrait of a person left only with a handful of memories, reminded that “love can make you happy or it can make you want to die.” Relying heavily on his wah-wah pedal, “I Thought We Had This” has a steady piano accompaniment and smooth backing vocals to validate Bobby’s words of wisdom “I thought we had this that we were on the road to peace.” With a beginning drum solo reminiscent of the ZZ Top song “Gimme All Your Lovin’, “We Need A Blessing” points out some of current issues we need to face as a nation that are dividing Americans and posing many questions. Messano puts an exclamation point on his message with some powerful guitar solos. If those lyrics are not thought provoking enough, “Is It Too Much To Hope For A Miracle” looks our ever changing society with an element of concern. “American Spring” written by Bobby Messano, Jon Tiven, and Larry Weiss concludes this monumental album, drawing from their rock and roll roots to end with a no holes barred guitar extravaganza.

I think it is every artist’s dream to create that perfect studio album that best expresses their thoughts through musical expression. In our conversations, Bobby has conveyed the message that Bad Movie could be his finest work to date and with that being said, I would have to agree with him. Every one of his albums has something special, but this one says it best! Knowing Bobby for several years, he has a distinct sincerity as a person, which can be heard both in his writing and performing. He has given us a wealth of musical gifts that will remain in our hearts forever. Bobby has gone many different directions throughout his career and always seems to be successful. As an entertainer and person he always remains positive. Every day is a new day and a new adventure for Bobby Messano, a singer, songwriter, musician, and friend forever.

Review by Rick Davis