ABOUT THE BAND
After thirty years on the international stage producing soul legend Eddie Floyd's return to Stax Records, being the driving force behind Boston bands The Radio Kings and The Mercy Brothers, producing Norwegian singer-songwriter William Hut's gold & platinum award winning number one hit "Take It Easy" from the album Nightfall for Universal Records, and most recently producing Feel Like Going Home: The Songs of Charlie Rich for Memphis International Records plus numerous other artists and projects, Michael Dinallo steps forward with Crooked Road Songs, his first recordings as a solo artist. This set features two distinct sides of Michael Dinallo as producer, bandleader, guitarist, and songwriter. Part one features Boston legend Tim Gearan on vocals and is a full band setting evoking hints of Tom Waits and Daniel Lanois. The second half features a more intimate acoustic approach reminiscent of The Band that features garage-band soul shouter Barrence Whitfield on vocals.
Michael Dinallo: Electric Guitar, Mandolin
Tim Gearan: Lead Vocals, Acoustic & Electric Guitar
Kevin Barry: Acoustic & Electric Guitar, Vocals
John Packer: Acoustic Bass, Vocals
Marty Richards: Drums
Barrence Whitfield: Vocal
Ducky Carlisle: Bass Drum
Produced By Michael Dinallo
Recorded by Nate Dube at Rear Window Recording Service, Brooklin MA
Additional recording by Ducky Carlisle at Ice Station Zebra, Medford MA
Mixed by Ducky Carlisle and MIchael Dinallo - The Tremolo Twins - at Ice Station Zebra, Medford MA
Mastered by Michael Saint-Leon at The Switchyard, Nashville, TN
Mixed By Jett Galindo At Studio 12e Watertown, MA.
PRESS RELEASES & REVIEWS
"If you look up the word underrated, then Michael Dinallo's name should be right beside it. He has an imposing array of credits from producing soul great Eddie Floyd to helming the esteemed "Feel Like Going Home: The Songs of Charlie Rich," yet he has never received the credit he deserves. This new EP is the first record under his own name -- and it's an absolute gem. It's a rootsy excursion incorporating his deft, twang-heaven skills on electric and acoustic guitars as well as mandolin. He brings in Boston mainstay Tim Gearan to sing modernized treatments of "Lonesome Road Blues" and "In the Pines," associated with Lead Belly, on which Dinallo sounds almost Duane Eddy-ish. Then he adds exquisite soul singer Barrence Whitfield for originals such as the bluesy-psychedelic "Mr. Johnson" and the poignant but hopeful "Waiting for a Better Day." Let's hope that Dinallo's better day has arrived. He has earned it."
- Steve Morse, Former Boston Globe Music Critic and Current Berklee Colloege of Music Professor: Rock History
Michael Dinallo knows good sounds when he hears them, and he's been the force behind making sure some of those sounds are heard. He's a world-class producer who's produced Stax Records' legend Eddie Floyd, produced the acclaimed tribute album to Charlie Rich, "Feel Like Going Home: The Songs of Charlie Rich" and he was the force propelling Boston bands The Radio Kings and The Mercy Brothers.
Dinallo steps from behind the boards on his first solo album, and we wonder what took him so long. He's a mesmerizing guitarist who can lay down some tasty Southern rock licks ("Mr. Johnson") or deliver twangy rockabilly riffs ("Bluebonnet Lullaby") or some slow acoustic folk blues ("Tennessee Blues"). Joining Dinallo album are Boston players Tim Gearan on vocals and guitars, Kevin Barry on guitars, John Packer on bass, Marty Richards and Ducky Carlisle on drums; Barrence Whitfield - the two used to play together - stops by to sing on two songs.
The slow-burning rockabilly blues instrumental "Bluebonnet Lullaby" finds Dinallo opening the lead-off song with a spare guitar riff over the first four bars, and then the rest of the band lays layer upon layer of rich sound on top of his hypnotic licks. Reminiscent of "Theme from a Summer Place," "Bluebonnet Lullaby" is a perfect movie theme song, and maybe just the right tune for the Texas state song, if Texas were more laid back.
Dinallo delivers some Johnny Cash riffs joined with the twangy licks of Dick Dale and Dale Watson to open a sprightly take on the traditional "Lonesome Road Blues"; Dinallo's version will have you dancing along, even as you're "going down the road feeling bad." Dinallo's mournful version of the traditional "In the Pines" features Gearan's lowdown blues vocals, lending the swampy, can't-get-no-lower vibes to the New Orleans bass drum beating out the hollow emptiness of the pine woods.
Whitfield lends his vocals to "Mr. Johnson" and "Waiting for a Better Day," weaving around somber acoustic guitars. The latter especially casts a haunting spell on the listener with its message of hope for the downtrodden and neglected in a society that casts them aside. Dinallo closes with a straight-ahead acoustic blues, "Tennessee Blues," that belongs in any juke joint.
"Crooked Road Songs" leaves us wanting more from Dinallo. He's at home in any kind of music, and his stellar guitar playing puts him in that class of guitarists that includes Vince Gill, Robert Cray, Dale Watson, Duane Allman and Danny Flowers who never waste a note and possess the just-right phrasing for any song they touch. This small masterpiece of an EP delivers the promise of the kind of musical portraits Dinallo can paint on a larger canvas.
- Country Standard Time, Reviewed by Henry L. Carrigan Jr.
The only question is why has it taken multi-talented Michael Dinallo 30 years to finally come out with a debut? And couldn’t he have added a few more tunes? Crooked Road Songs is, in a word, spectacular. It’s soulful, bluesy to the hilt, filled with folksy reverence for his forebears and contains some spectacular vocals courtesy of soul shouter Barrence Whitfield and Boston bar-band hero Tim Gearan. Dinallo has arranged, produced, written and added some pretty damn nifty electric guitar and mandolin on six sterling tracks, three with full band, three acoustically intimate. Muddy Waters did Big Bill Broonzy’s “Lonesome Road Blues” in 1959. Is it sacrilegious to say I like Dinallo’s version better? Ditto for Lead Belly’s “In The Pines.” Dinallo’s originals reek of late-night honky-tonk floozies and bare-bones front-porch Appalachia. The man knows how to put a record together. He’s done so producing Eddie Floyd on Stax and the Charlie Rich tribute album last year, both projects brimming with ideas, alacrity and total joyousness. Rock on, dude. I’m a fan.
- Goldmine Magazine