Dean Zucchero

REVIEW: Dean Zucchero gives a tour of New Orleans blues in ‘Electric Church for the Spiritually Misguided’


Dean Zucchero is a bassist who grew up and got his musical career started in New York. After leaving New York, he spent nine years touring with The Healers. When he returned to the States, he found a home in New Orleans playing with Cyril Neville, among others. The city has certainly impacted his music, which is based in the blues but also incorporates other aspects of New Orleans music.

His new album is entitled Electric Church for the Spiritually Misguided and it is a good example of how Zucchero’s music has been influenced since he settled in New Orleans. It is a blues album that takes you on a musical tour of the various influences that make New Orleans music so great.

The album begins with “Big Boss Boy,” a song that seems to find its origins more in Texas than in Louisiana. The guitar in the song has a clean sound that brings Freddie King to mind. On top of that, it is an upbeat song with a groove that is sure to get you moving, even if it’s just dancing in your seat while you drive.

“Last Minute Packer” is an excellent example of how Zucchero has absorbed the sounds of new Orleans into his music. Ghalia Volt plays some excellent guitar and lends her unmistakable vocals to this tune that is a combination of blues and Cajun. The Cajun aspect of the song is provided by Wayne Thibodeaux on the fiddle and Alex MacDonald on the washboard. Don’t be surprised if you find yourself looking to two-step when you listen to this song.

If a stripped-down blues song is more your speed, Zucchero has you covered. “Empty Postbox” is about as simple as blues gets with Bruce “Sunpie” Barnes on vocals and harmonica and Zucchero on bass and percussion. It’s an interesting tune in that it includes the unusual dynamic of the harmonica and the bass sharing the lead. It’s the kind of song that is easy to imagine being played on a back porch somewhere. Whether or not you listen to it on a porch, you are likely to tap your foot as you listen.

Fascism has been an unfortunate topic of conversation recently. It’s not often that you associate the term fascist with the word love, but the album includes a song called “Fascist Love.” Leslie Blackshear Smith lays down some tough and soulful vocals that are the perfect compliment to the heavy blues-rock riffs laid down by Papa Mali. This is a song that might remind you of some of your favorite bands of the 70s that were heavily influenced by the blues.

Electric Church for the Spiritually Misguided by Dean Zucchero is an excellent blues album that doesn’t dwell in any particular style of the blues. Zucchero shows his talent as a songwriter, whether the tune is a foot-stomper or a groovy instrumental. When you listen to this album, play it loud and have your dancing shoes ready. The album will be available everywhere on April 28.

Enjoy our previous coverage here: Video Premiere: Dean Zucchero American Dream

Dean Zucchero – bass, percussion
Johnny Rawls – vocals
Johnny Burgin – guitar
Terence Higgins – drums
Phil Breen – organ, Wurlitzer
Ghalia Volt – backing vocals, lead vocals, guitar
Tiffany Pollock – backing vocals
Whitney Alouiscious Sanders – backing vocals
Alex MacDonald – percussion, washboard
Dale Spalding – lead vocals, harmonica
Jake Eckert – guitar, percussion
Doug Belote – drums
Jonathon “Boogie” Long – lead vocals, guitar
Waylon Thibodeaux – fiddle
Megan Harris Brunious – backing vocals
Bruce “Sunpie” Barnes – lead vocals, harmonica
John Fohl – guitar
Joe Krown – organ
Leslie Blackshear Smith – lead vocals
Papa Mali – guitar
Tif Lamson – backing vocals
Jason Ricci – harmonica
Johnny Sansone – lead vocals, harmonica
Jeremy Joyce – lead vocals, guitar, backing vocals
Zeus Vee- backing vocals
Engineered & Mixed by Jake Eckert @ Rhythm Shack Studio – New Orleans
Mastering Engineer-Drew Lavyne at A.L.L. Digital Mastering
Produced & Arranged by Dean Zucchero
Executive Producer-Dean Zucchero

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