In a year of what seemed like, crisis after crisis, there was some absolutely remarkable music releases. As such, it seemed there were a lot of releases throughout the year that somewhat unceremoniously ended up lost in the reeds so to speak. One of those albums was Praise, the sophomore release courtesy of Frenchie’s Blues Destroyers.
Frenchie’s Blues Destroyers are a blues duo based out of Dallas, Texas. I first heard these guys about two years back, where at the time, they were opening for the incomparable Jimmie Vaughan. They were really good, and I remember being really impressed at the time. After all, it’s not any band that can take a stage in a town they’ve never visited, while opening for Vaughan and his incredible Tilt-a-Whirl band, and make an impression. A duo no less. But that’s exactly what these two gentlemen did. Made up of Kevin Sciou aka Frenchie, and Brother Pete, on the guitars and drums/percussion respectively, I was intrigued to see what the self described “blues rockin’ footstompin’” band had been up to.
If you’re a fan of Americana (and why else are you here?), there’s a good chance you may have heard Frenchie and Brother Pete even if you don’t know it. Both fellows spent time backing fellow Texas troubadour, Jack Ingram. Before that, Sciou spent time honing his chops with folks like Wade Bowen as well as a stint in Shooter Jenning’s side project, Starrgunn. With all that session work, and live experience under their belt and something to say of their own, both gentlemen made a claim of their own with their debut release Love Is Blood, and now expand upon that same premise via Praise.
Opening with the slow, low swamp rock of “Black Cat Moan,” Frenchie and Brother Pete waste little time establishing a down and dirty vibe for Praise. But, as they slide into the second track “Never Meant To Hurt You”, they’ve added a more polished country soul feel. A kind of Muscle Shoals attitude if you will. “Take a Stand for Yourself”and “Miss Me When I’m Gone,” take a more bluesy rock-n-roll swagger again, before “Long To Come Home” and the title track, “Praise” surprised me with an ample Beatlesque ambience wrapped up nicely within. But, make no mistake, the root of every track here is the blues. Even when scaling things back on “Find Another Fool” and “Sweet Remedy,” there’s an unmistakable base that makes these songs undeniably rooted in the blues traditions. “Greta” returns to that footstompin’ groove before the album’s closing track “Blue Eyes Can Do No Wrong” wraps everything up tight with that patented swagger.
Final verdict? There’s a bit more studio flash and expected experimentation, but that footstompin’ music is still the driving force here. It’s a fun album. With Praise, Frenchie and Brother Pete have put forth a really solid second effort. This is the type of album that can be enjoyed in a couple of different ways. It’s a great party/ambiance record. The type that you can put on for a guest or even a group, and everyone will dig it. Undoubtedly, those guests are going to ask about it. Or, conversely, it’s an album you can toss on while working around the house, or even throw on some headphones and get lost in the amount of sound and layers these two bluesmen can produce. Definitely worth a listen.
Praise is available on Spotify, and you can discover more information on Frenchie’s Blues Destroyers by visiting their web page here: https://www.bluesdestroyers.com/