Saturday, July 9, 2016

Wooden Nickel Lottery - Down the Line


2016 – Violet Isle Records
By Phillip Smith; July 9, 2016


There’s something kind of special about Wooden Nickel Lottery’s latest album, Down the Line.  The songs take me back to the late Seventies, when rock music relied on well-written songs, and radio stations still played a mix of genres.  That’s exactly what these Eastern Iowa musicians have to offer, as they skillfully combine splashes of rock, blues, country, funk and soul to create their own special blend of homegrown tunes.  The band is composed of lead vocalist/guitarist Rick Gallo, guitarist/tunesmith Rich Toomsen, bassist Jessica Toomsen, and drummer Delayne Stallman.

Gallo soulfully belts out “Can’t Be Wrong” with a power and smoothness which reminds me of Foreigner’s Lou Gramm.  I dig the funky bassline Jess lays down on “No Second Chances”.  It puts a smile on my face with every listen.  It’s easy to get lost in the bluesy melody on “Yesterday’s Rain”. It’s nice and slow, with an Allman Brothers vibe.  Hearing this one played live with an extended jam would be a treat for sure.  WNL kicks out the jams in hoedown fashion for a downright bodacious and intense instrumental, “Throw It Down”.  They keep the fire burning with the rocker “The Open Road”, staying on course with a driving beat from Stallman as Rich sweetly rips it up on guitar.   


For a cool-as-hell finale, the album closes out with a swampy homage to the working man in the track “Nickels and Dimes”.  Wooden Nickel Lottery scores big with Down the Line.  It is such an enjoyable album, I anxiously await their next.