Jason Vivone And The Billy Bats review…January 25, 2014…

JASON VIVONE AND THE BILLY BATS

EDDIE ATE DYNAMITE

SELF-RELEASED

CUT THOSE APRON STRINGS–PLACEBO–MEAN–EDDIE ATE DYNAMITE–ANALOG–THE BLUES AND THE GREYS–METHINKS THE LADY DOTH PROTEST TOO MUCH–WHERE DID THE DAY GO?–I CAN NEVER SAY GOODBYE

Jason Vivone first got our attention in 2013 with his dazzling debut, “Lather, Rinse, Repeat,” and he and The Billy Bats have done it again with their latest, “Eddie Ate Dynamite.”  Often called the “Orson Welles of the blues,” Jason takes the compliment seriously, and, over the course of the nine originals that comprise the set, it’s easy for listeners to insert themselves into the context of the songs.  Take the slide guitar romp that is the title cut.  Seems that “Eddie Ate Dynamite” at a church picnic at the urging of some cousins, then “asked me for a light!”  You can almost picture yourself in the background somewhere, watching as this deal goes down.

The other cuts also have Jason’s trademark quirks that make this album so refreshingly infectious.  He’s not afraid to let everyone know he’s a bit “old-school,” as “the tapes inside my head are Analog,” and “I’m at home with the crackle and hiss!”  It’s set over a too-cool-for-school, loping, Jimmy Reed beat.  Jason’s penchant foe Shakespearean theater shows up on “Methinks The Lady Doth Protest Too Much,” a six-minute partly spoken-word shout-out to the Bard’s most recognizable quotes.

There’s some fine traditional blues, too.  The leadoff “Cut Those Apron Strings” jumps, jives, and wails as Jason begs his paramour to stop asking Mommy dearest’s permission for everything.

We had three favorites, too.  “Mean” deals with domestic abuse, and Jason’s vocal is done in Curtis Mayfield-like falsetto, and the porn-flick guitars give this one a decidedly  “Superfly” vibe.  The set-closing “I Can Never Say Goodbye,” finds Jason backed only by Rick MacIvor on piano, as he says “adieu, adios, ta-ta, and cheerio,” but, never goodbye!  And, if Jason is Orson Welles, then his “War Of The Worlds” is the blues-operetta-themed “The Blues And The Greys.”  Set over a galloping beat, it also is partly spoken-word as Jason recounts a tale of aliens landing on the White House lawn after listening to WDIA in outer space, prompting a bartender in the song to exclaim that a “Grey man can sing the blues!”

Just like that proverbial box of chocolates, “Eddie Ate Dynamite” is full of surprises.  With tongue planted firmly in cheek, and one foot in the Delta and the other one wherever he needs it to be, Jason Vivone And The Billy Bats create quirky, interesting music that makes for a highly-enjoyable listening experience, indeed!  Until next time…Sheryl and Don Crow.

 

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