BIO CD REVIEW The Book by Richard Marcus In The End by John Lutrell INTERVIEW PRESS SHOWS VIDEOS PHOTOS CONTACT BOBBY DIRNINGER CD review by Richard Marcus (Blogcritics) He has his work published in print and online all over the world including the German edition of Rolling Stone Magazine ,www.Qantara.de and Leap in the dark. The Book (2012)
The first thing you'll notice about Dirninger is how relaxed he is. There's an almost effortless grace to his singing style that's far more reminiscent of French popular singers like Brel than what we're used to in blues and rock singers. Maybe because it's not a style we're accustomed to hearing when listening to this type of music, it takes a bit of getting used to. However, he is able to capture our attention and hold it from the opening song of the disc to the final track. For although at times he appears almost laconic, he's so laid back, you can't help but feel like he's a coiled spring waiting to explode. Every so often, he leans into a song and gives us an example of what lies behind that calm exterior and then as effortlessly as exerted energy he slides back into his easy groove. Unlike those who feel they have to be performing at a fever pitch all the time to gain our attention, Dirninger understands the importance of modulation. The first song on the disc, "Like That Music" is a great example. The song starts off with a mid-tempo funky beat, and his vocals are a gentle accompaniment, subdued to the point he's almost talking. Then as the music builds in intensity, so does his voice, until the chorus when he reaches the peak of his urgency and demands you listen to him. One of the things I appreciated most about this disc, and Dirninger, is he doesn't equate intensity of emotion with speed and volume. Too often in blues based music, singers and musicians will think they have to either make our ears or their fingers bleed to let us know they are feeling some great emotion. Just listen to Dirninger's song "Late At Night" for an object lesson on how the combination of great arrangements and singing can achieve the same goal in far more convincing manner without damaging anyone. Not since Warren Zevon have I heard a musician able to sing a slow song that sounds just as intense as any rock roll barn burner with screamed lyrics. There's a rawness to Dirninger's vocals that speaks of emotional intensity while the guitar and keyboard leads accent the lyrics without drowning them out or overselling the emotion. It's the perfect balance between music and voice that in my mind separates the exceptional song from the ordinary run of the mill number. Of course, Dirninger also knows the key element of good rock and roll. It should be fun to listen to. "Love Is A Feeling" and "You'll Be On Fire" are not only great pieces of music but they are fun to hear. If it can't pull you to your feet and get you up dancing once in a while, what's the point of rock and roll? On these two songs specifically, and sporadically throughout the album, Dirninger and his band show they understand that music shouldn't be just for listening to, it should also make you want to move. What makes both these songs even better is the fact they aren't obviously dance songs. It's not like they've said well we should include a couple of uptempo numbers cause people like to dance. The songs just happen to be ones you can dance to. In fact, that's the truly remarkable thing about this disc. No matter what style of music a song is, blues, rock, funk, R&B or soul, it's all effortless. The band moves easily between styles whether within a number or from track to track and nothing ever feels forced or unnatural. I don't know if any of them have played for North American musicians before, but they could match up with any blues based band I've heard anywhere and are a damn site more interesting than most I hear in North America. Music needs to be constantly evolving to ensure it doesn't stagnate. In order to evolve it needs to be exposed to different environments and receive transfusions of new blood periodically. The Book shows just how important this is as Bobby Dirninger and his band take blues based music down some familiar paths but also branch off in totally new directions, making it one of the more interesting new albums of its kind to come out in a while. If you've become bored with the same old same old from blues and rock and roll, you'll want to give this album a listen. It respects the old, but embraces something new, and the result is magnifique.