Mention the name Rob Dye and you’re bound to hear the following question: “Isn’t that the guy that does those Sunday night open mics in Red Bank?” And you, sir or madame, would be correct. That jam has been going on since the early ‘90s where Dye worked his style out in front of the Downtown Café crowd, playing with a bevy of covers kings and originals rockers all under the same hip little roof.
So it would only make sense that this latest release shows Dye filling up at the musical smorgasbord, covering styles ranging from rock to country smoked honky tonk and offshoots of R&B, and utilizing a whopping 25 musicians ranging from the obscure to the top of the crops. Guys like Ron Haney (Churchills), Bart Shoudel (Churchills), Hugh McDonald (Bon Jovi), the fiery Marc Muller (Shania Twain), Bob Pantella (Monster Magnet) and Matt O’Ree, as well as many other musical luminaries, grace this smartly done disc.
Co-produced with super picker Askold Buk, Rob gets right to work with the love lost theme of “Maybe Someday,” a Gin Blossoms-influenced rocker, fueled by Ron Haney’s Tele growl and ‘80s Mellotron vibrations. Dye takes the listener through a couple other curious numbers (I could swear that the beginning riff on “Loose Ends” is the theme from Entertainment Tonight) before hitting the stride of the disc with the Upstate New York feel of “Precious One.”
This is where the record gets interesting as drummer Michael Shearer launches into his Levon Helm shuffle and the horn arrangements of Ghegan and Gambrell lift the tune up into Memphis territory, pushing the song right into the path of Matt O’Ree’s greasy hot slide lines. Keyboardist Mike Sonatore nails the Rhoades intro with an almost Lionel Ritchie eeriness. Dye’s vocals shine brightest with this style, Americana strong and reminding me of singer Ian Felice from The Felice Brothers. This is not an easy style to master, especially vocal-wise, and Dye does a fair job of it on this disc with the backing aid of Melissa Chill, Ron Haney, Bart Schoudel, and other fine singers.
“Here Comes Loneliness” is pure truck stop sorrow as it churns under the bending steel and Dobro shots of Marc Muller and all wrapped around some straight from the heart lyrics; probably my favorite, this one is reminiscent of Neil Young’s Prairie Winds sessions. “My Baby Left Me Yesterday” is twangier fair, backed by the guitar acrobatics of Askold Buk and the cool accordion riffs of Vinnie Zummo. Dye’s vocal style has a sharp, almost Lennonistic tone ala “Why Don’t We Do It In The Road” here. If you’re looking for the track that’ll get your girlfriend dancing around the living room in her panties, you just found it.
The sad sack shuffle of “I’ll Have Another Drink’ reminds me of sitting in Tootsies on Broadway in Nashville, smoking Marlboros and drinking Jack Daniels by the tumbler while I watch performers like Askold Buk just make me want to burn my guitars and go to bible school. Disc closer “Cars, Trucks And Buses” showcases more insane fretwork by Buk and Muller, and is as comfortable as a couch on the front lawn out in front of your trailer. Backing vocals by Pat Guadagno as well as more guitars by George Ott top you off and get you back on the honky tonk highway.
Days To Here manages to coral the best of what makes these styles of music vital and turn it into an old time parlor visit, beckoning the listener to come on in, kick yer’ shoes off and take a big ole’ swig of Americana home grown.
Catch Rob as he puts on a dual CD release show with Roger Gardella and show-stopper Melissa Chill at Tim McLoone’s Supper Club in Asbury Park this Friday night, May 8. For more info head over to robertdye.net.
A Call For Film Entries: Open Screen Night At The Count Basie Theater
The historic Count Basie Theatre in Red Bank, NJ, seeks submissions from NJ and NJ-area filmmakers for Open Screen Night, an “open mic night” for filmmakers, if you will.
On the fourth Monday night of each month, each 90-minute Open Screen Night will feature six to eight filmmakers. After being introduced by the host, each filmmaker will provide the audience with a brief explanation of the scene they are about to see, and how it fits into the context of the larger work. Following the screening, each filmmaker will have the opportunity to receive critical feedback in a 10-minute audience interaction period moderated by the host.
A reception in the Count Basie Theatre’s Patron Lounge will follow each program, providing the filmmakers and interested audience members an opportunity for extended interaction. For more information visit countbasietheatre.org or call 732-224-8778, extension 105.