Covid-19 is affecting all aspects of our lives. On this album, the batten down the hatches warning of Big Rain is Comin' Mama and the self explanatory The World's Gone Crazy are premonitions of the havoc the virus has already reaped.
This is the Southern California Americana artist’s 12th album in a career that dates back to the ‘80s. Out of necessity, the 12 tracks were patched together by contributions mailed in digitally rather than made by guys gathering together in a room.
The blues dominates the songs but probably would have done so with or without the pandemic since this has always been at the root for the Rick Shea sound. The record begins with Blues Stop Knockin at My Door and Blues at Midnight and he throws in some Nashville Blues for good measure.
This doesn't mean that Shea is particularly grim or overly gritty. He shows he has heart of gold in the romantic song to his wife , A Tenderhearted Love while the tongue-in-cheek Cajun number, Juanita (Why Are You So Mean), is affectionately named after his mother-in-law.
The album closes with a gentle instrumental (Mystic Canyon) followed by Texas Lawyer a noir narrative inspired by the work of hardboiled crime novelist Elmore Leonard.
This is a solid and warm-hearted record that shows that, even with the upheavals in our lives, conventional Americana rolls on much the same as it ever did.
Rick Shea's website