After hearing Rocket Number 9 last year I had to wonder what this young blues rocker Jason Ricci was going to do for an encore. Well after two years in between releases Ricci has the answer and it comes at you like a locomotive running off the tracks on Done With The Devil. Ricci is back with a fire burning in his soul complete with the raspy emotive vocal style to compliment the guitar, harmonica, bass and drums that chug along behind him every step of the way on this CD.
To be honest when I saw this CD hit my mailbox I was immediately excited and anxious to hear what Ricci came up with this time. Right from the starting line he is like a greyhound chasing that rabbit around the track, focused and hitting his stride while getting stronger with each advance towards the ultimate prize. This album is another step in the right direction for Ricci and his development as the complete artist. Shawn Starski is good fit for Ricci's music and muse. His complimentary style on the six-string stings like a bee just like all the harmonica playing Ricci doles out during the run of this CD.
I have to say that I love the vocal tracks but what really got my attention was their instrumental version of the classic jazz tune "Afro Blue". Phillip Wolfe plays a key role here with a nice Hammond pumping away in the background to set the tone of the number. The nine previous tracks set you up for heart pumping sweaty blues rock however this track is not only a masterful interpretation of a song for the ages, it puts everyone on notice that this cat Ricci and his band can play some major league jazz fusion when they decide to. That is an entirely different level of musical diversity and expertise that you just do not expect to hear on the album yet it's there in all its glory for you to ponder upon then all the "what if's" start rolling around in your head.
The kickoff and title track really set the tone for this album; it's a real cooker and something that you would expect from Ricci. He does not disappoint in the least in fact he cuts loose and continually raises the bar on every track. The closing track "Enlightenment" is another surprise and enlightened we are after hearing it. The intro sounds like something straight out of a bar on Fat Tuesday, a musical gumbo that leads into Ricci's soulful bluesy harp playing. It is another nearly all instrumental nugget (a short vocal spurt comes in at the end) that shines the light on the entire band and puts a lot of possibilities on the table-again. Wolfe steps in with all of his amazing versatility and plays a chilling accordion and slide guitar that provides the element of mystery and a carnival atmosphere. The vocals gently ease you out of your hypnotized state then the CD is over.
It is quite a ride around the block musically speaking and much more diverse than the previous release. A very impressive collection of tracks from Mr. Ricci and I would expect further developments down the road with this intriguing artist for all seasons.