The Long Journey Home
It has been a couple years since Vaneese Thomas, daughter of the legendary Rufus Thomas issued "Blues For My Father," which I found was "a showcase of Vaneese Thomas’ craft as a songwriter and her soul-shaking vocals. Like that release, this was produced by Thomas and her husband Wayne Warnecke, the core of the musicians on this include Joe Bonadio on drums, Paul Adamy on bass, Paul Mariconda on keyboards, Sergio Cocchi on organ, Wayne Warnecke on percussion or electric guitar, and Al Orlo or Tash Neal on guitar.
About her last recording I wrote that Vaneese "can flat out sing with a display of vocal dynamics as well as power to leave a strong impression on the listeners." And when they starting rocking on the opening "Sweet Talk Me," she exhibits her power as well her nuance in phrasing set against a driving rhythm. A loping walking groove underlay a fine blues performance, "Lonely No More." There is a party feel to "Sat'day Night On The River," with its relaxed shuffle groove and Cliff Lyons booting tenor sax solo. "Mystified" is a soul-blues number as she celebrates being captured in his embrace.
"Country Funk" mixes a funk groove with a dash of country-rock violin, dobro and banjo in the backing, and is followed by the topicality of "The More Things Change" ("the more they stay the same"). "Prince of Fools" a strong soul performance about someone she loves and only a fool would let Vaneese go. "I Got A Man In Tn" has a tough blues-rock setting as she sings about traveling performing and having met many men in her travels, but she has a message for them that she has a man in Tennessee is waiting for her in the County of Shelby, while there is a low-key feel as she sings about rocking away on her front porch as she is "Rockin' Away The Blues." with bluesy dobro from Peter Calo. With a jaunty, Jimmy Reed-styled groove, "Revelation" celebrates her finding a love that is true, followed by a slow roots performance "Mean World," with a plea for civility and live a life with a heart full of charity.
A strongly sung cover of Fleetwood Mac's "The Chain," is the final recording on another strong recording that is up to the high standard of the earlier album, as well as her live performances which this writer was fortunate enough to attend. Vaneese Thomas continues to impress with her marvelous singing and songwriting on this recording.
I received my review copy from a publicist. This review originally appeared in the March-April 2017 Jazz & Blues Report (Issue 371). Here is a video of Vaneese celebrating the release of this CD.