Thursday, February 23, 2017

Scott Ramminger Do What Your Heart Says To

Scott Ramminger
Do What Your Heart Says To
Arbor Lane Music

What a pleasure it is to have a new CD from Mid-Atlantic saxophonist-singer-songwriter Scott Ramminger that is full of the bluesy, roots-rock gumbo with a heavy dash of New Orleans flavor. Backing Ramminger is a Crescent City studio band of David Torkanowsky on keyboards; Shane Theriot on guitar; George Porter on bass; and Doug Belote on drums, with Roland Guerin replacing Porter and Johnny Vidacovich replacing Belote on two tracks. Trombones and trumpet with Ramminger provide a full horn section and there are guest vocalists supporting Scott that include Tommy Malone, Bekka Bramlett, Francine Reed, The McCrary Sisters, Janiva Magness and Roddie Romero (who plays accordion on one track).

Scott writes good songs, full of humor and a perspective on the affairs of the heart and sings in an appealing, natural, rustic style. He also adds fluent, idiomatic big-toned sax to these selections backed by the stellar rhythm section. The album gets off with a New Orleans funk groove of "Living Too Fast" as he tells his tale about this woman with brains, looks and the like who poured his bottle into the ocean, cigarettes in the trash, coming to the conclusion Scott was living too fast (with Malone adding harmony), and while on May 1 he thought she was the one, by Labor Day she had extinguished all his fun with a booting sax solo and some New Orleans piano from Torkanowsky. With Bekka Bramlett adding support, "Someone New To Disappoint," is a nice hard rock number with Scott as someone who won't be changed so he is looking for someone else to disappoint. On the title track Scott deals with being battered by a lover, and sometimes instead of using one's brain, one should "Do What Your Heart Says To," with him taking another booting sax solo followed by Torkanowsky with some idiomatic Crescent City piano and Francine Reed on backing vocal.

Scott's has taken a beating and has not slept since she left and he's "Hoping That The Sun Won't Shine," with Bekka Bramlett supporting his vocal and Scott playing baritone as well as tenor sax on this blue ballad. "Winter Is Always Worse" is a strong slow performance that opens with some sizzling guitar from Theriot while "Get Back Up," with Guerin and Vidacovich, gets into a funk groove as he sings about getting back up when dealing with life throws at you while The McCrary Sisters add vocal backing and a short trombone break is followed by some deep in the gut baritone sax, guitar and chicken fried organ. Janiva Magness guests backing Scott on the easy rocking shuffle "It's Hard To Be Me," as Scott sings about his trouble and coming up with these lies and make up stories to hold on to a love.

"Off My Mind" is another solid slow blues while "My Girl For Life," is a swamp pop styled ballad. Roddie Romero's accordion lends a Tex-Mex accent to the rock and roll groove of "Stubborn Man," with honking sax, brief blistering guitar, and hot piano to take this  and the album to a rollicking close. Like he has done on his excellent prior recordings, Scott has produced some seriously entertaining music with plenty of substance. He writes real good songs, is a most engaging singer and a strong saxophonist who backs himself with some stellar players. The result is another helping of real fine musical gumbo.

A publicist provided me with the review copy. Here is a video of Scott performing at a CD release party.

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