Joey Spampinato

REVIEW: A Sweet Relief Tribute to Joey Spampinato


A Sweet Relief Tribute to Joey Spampinato

NRBQ founding member/bassist Joey Spampinato’s cancer battle took him off the road and brought many old friends and fans who stepped up to help. As it has done many times before, an extended community of musicians, friends, and supporters banded together around Joey. The latest result is a new edition to the Sweet Relief series – A Sweet Relief Tribute to Joey Spampinato.

A wide range of artists bring their sensibilities to bare on a variety of Joey penned NRBQ tunes including bands (Los Lobos, Deer Tick, The Minus 5, The Nils), songwriters (Peter Case, Steve Forbert, Buddy Miller, Jim Lauderdale, Robbie Fulks), a few outright legends (Keith Richards, Charlie Musselwhite, Benmont Tench, Peter Buck), and even comedians/magicians (Penn & Teller). While many dig deep into Spampinato’s country rock roots to inform their take on his tunes, these artists simultaneously make their own mark on the tracks. The ability to be bent to the will of others’ style without losing the heart of the song speaks to the caliber of Spampinato’s song craft.

Performances that stand out against the rest are hard to find within a group of such stature. Steve Forbert’s take on “Beverly” draws one into a dreamy moment highlight by Forbert’s signature high warble over a mellow B3. Deer Tick twists “That I Get Back Home” to their road warrior esthetic as they highlight their own love for a mix of early rock and roll with classic country. The Minus 5 bring a free jazz bent to their indie rock cataclysm to bear upon the girl gone wild “Don’t She Look Good” before finding a familiar feel-good groove in the song. “Every Boy, Every Girl” keeps the roll rocking with Los Lobos’s driving baritone sax and a turn toward Mexciana as the accordion takes a step in the limelight for a solo. With heavy reverb and haunting vocals She & Him make “How Can I Make You Love Me” their own while digging deep into dreamy California pop of a bye gone era.

A Sweet Relief Tribute to Joey Spampinato is a fitting tribute to a deserving songwriter performed by a collection admirers who highlight the source material while also bringing their own signature talents to bear on the songs. If you are a long time NRBQ devotee or simply an adventurous listener, this collection is an excellent reminder of a great talent or entry point to a deep catalogue.




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