Dave Keller review…November 1, 2018….

DAVE KELLER

EVERY SOUL’S A STAR

CATFOOD RECORDS   CFR 026

DON’T LET THEM TAKE YOUR JOY–EVERY SOUL’S A STAR–BABY, I LOVE YOU–OLD TRICKS–YOU BRING THE SUNSHINE–FREEDOM IS OURS–THIS IS GONNA HURT–IT’S ALL IN YOUR EYES–KISS ME LIKE YOU MISS ME–WHEN ARE YOU GONNA CRY–AIN’T GIVIN’ IN

Dave Keller has been a favorite of ours ever since being tabbed to sing on Ronnie Earl’s “Living In The Light” album.  He’s a tremendous soul-blues singer, guitarist, and composer, and counts among his mentors Johnny Rawls, Mighty Sam McClain, and Robert Ward.  It was Johnny Rawls who hooked Dave up with Bob Trenchard of Catfood Records, ’bout five years back during Blues Awards week.  Their meeting led to this album, Dave’s debut for Catfood Records, “Every Soul’s A Star,” produced by Jim Gaines.  It’s ten originals and one cover that share Dave’s belief that there is good and beauty in every one of us, and that we all, as a society, must stand together to conquer hate.

Backing Dave on this set were the collaborative, outstanding talents of The Rays, the Catfood “house band,” if you will.  They include Bob Trenchard on bass and legendary Motown guitarist Johnny McGhee.  Leading off, Dave preaches standing up to adversity, “Don’t Let Them Take Your Joy,” then moves to the soulful, upbeat positivity of the title cut, which served as one of our favorites.  It traces the beauty and artistry in us all, where, indeed, “Every Soul’s A Star/just be who you are.”  Dave turns a clever lyric in a song about missing a long-gone lover, “I’m up to your Old Tricks again,” while, a bit later, Dave’s the one breaking up, and lets her down as gently as he can, but, still, “This Is Gonna Hurt,”

We had two other favorites, too.  It takes a cool, confident singer to pull off Aretha’s “Baby, I Love You,” but Dave’s got it goin’ on over Johnny’s funky leads, the irresistible backbeat, and the heavenly backing vocals of Janelle Thompson and Shakara Weston.  Our other favorite closed the set.  Dave lets it be known he believes in the power of love and sho’ nuff  “Ain’t Givin’ In, and ain’t givin’ up!”

Dave Keller composed some powerful, moving material for “Every Soul’s A Star,” and the Rays got on board with the project and brought it all to life behind Dave’s mighty vocals and guitar.  Dave proves once again that in the end, love always wins out!  Until next time…Sheryl and Don Crow.

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