Saturday, July 20, 2019

#401 : Eliza Neals - Sweet or Mean

2019 – E-H Records LLC

By Phillip Smith; July 20, 2019

It has been over two years since I fell head-over-heels for Eliza Neals’ 10,000 Feet Below album.  But, after hearing her latest EP Sweet or Mean, I find the wait has been worth it.  This time around, Neals teamed up with New York bluesman Ted Horowitz aka Popa Chubby.   Horowitz not only plays guitar on this release, but also takes on the role of producer/arranger.  Comprising the remainder of the band is Dave Keyes on B3/piano/Wurlitzer, Chris Gambaro-Vega on bass, and John Medeiros Jr. on drums.  

This six-track release opens and closes with two smokin’ variations of “Pawn Shop Blues”, a ripping original tune, written by Neals.  Her fearless delivery stands tall as Popa Chubby lays down a searing slab of blues on electric guitar.  Saxophonist Ian Hendrickson and trumpeter Michael Leonhart appear on one version, while “Pawn Shop Blues (roadhouse)” features barrelhouse piano from Keyes.  Vega and Medeiros create a captivating groove on “Blackish Gray”, which swiftly pulls me into its orbit.  Songs like this encourage me to put Neals at the top of my list of favorites.  There is certainly a positive chemistry between her and Ted when it comes to playing the blues.  Eliza sings her autobiographical power-anthem “Bitten by the Blues” with a soulful, rock-star delivery.  The hook is very infectious and sounds great with Popa Chubby’s tantalizing guitar licks.  I love the delta-flavored acoustic “Knock Knock Knocking” too.  It’s raw and fabulous.

Sweet or Mean is a terrific six-track EP.  It’s definitely worth checking out, if you dig the blues.      


For more information about the artist, visit the website..   

PhillyCheeze Rock & Blues Review for Eliza Neals - 10,000 Feet Below

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