|Dare To Be Different, Gail & The Tricksters
Wild Oats OAT 828
Singer/songwriter/guitarist Gail Lloyd is the driving force behind Gait & The Tricksters, a Nashville-based combo who play swinging rockin' roots music that blends the best of rockabilly, jump blues and rock 'n' roll. Writes Bill Schlitz of Enigma magazine: "I was really impressed by the vocal work done by Gail. She has one hell of a voice that seems to reverberate around the room... It was really nice."
Gail grew up on the islands of Oahu and Maui, learning (among other things) to hula, surf, and play native instruments like the ukulele and uli uli, and listening to local deejays like the legendary Aku Head Pupule (his name means "crazy fish head" in Hawaiian), who originally inspired her to take ukulele lessons. Gail's feel for the beat brought her to Nashville in the early 90s, and has also taken her around the world. She's performed in Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Sweden, England, Scotland, France, the Czech Republic, and even by the Sea of Galilee in Israel.
Gail & The Tricksters have launched their brand-new Wild Oats Records release, "Dare To Be Different", with a terrific live performance at Nashville's Mercy Lounge. While this is the debut full-length CD for Gail & The Tricksters, the band has previously received excellent reviews and extensive airplay for "All Tricked Out" (a six-song EP), and for its tracks on the Wild Oats rockabilly CD "Starr Struck".
Although Gail has a very specific country music voice, she mixes country, rockabilly and blues pretty neat. The bluesy effect is mostly created by Steve Haggard's "harp" (we usually call this a harmonica in Europe). Gail's voice has quite a wide range, and she uses it too, starting with the countrish original title song "Dare To Be Different". Gail also does rockabilly pretty neat, and she proves it with a cool boppin' rendition of Andy Starr's "Wanna Go South".
Varying country blues and rockabilly, next is "Runaround", followed by another rocker titled "Pink Slip" and a song with a Buddy Holly rhythm "Twist My Heart". The harmonica is explicitly present on each and every song. "Tom Cat Blues" is a slow blues ballad, with clear lead guitar licks mixed in with the blues harp, and it was the very first song Gail ever wrote.
The sensitive "Evil Grows" is indeed very different, and a very beautiful song at that. The duet "Round 'N' Round", another Andy Starr song, picks up speed again, and next in wide stereo is a weird song titled "Wet Sand". Including a Johnny Burnette song is always a good idea to keep the cats happy, and this rendition of "Spoo-Dee-O-Dee" with lots of harmonica sounds... you guessed it: different. "Rockabilly Robots" falls back on the popular 1950's Science Fiction theme, and it's also an ode to some of Gail's heroes, like Gene Vincent, Wanda Jackson and Elvis too, with a wink to Billy Riley's "Flying Saucer Rock 'n' Roll". Fantastic lyrics... "but the sun's coming up and there's no more beer, so we're blasting home at the speed of light, but we'll be back next Friday night"... cewl! The album closes with another original dance bopper "Tricksters Are In Town".
Yes, this album is definitly very different, hence the title "Dare To Be Different" of course. I enjoyed it very much, the blues harp adds a whole new dimension to rockabilly music. Gotta like it...
Gail & The Tricksters are:
Reviewed by The BlackCat, 2005