As the original vocalist for Anson Funderburgh's Rockets, Darrell Nulisch was featured on the inaugural release on the late, lamented Black Top label. After a second outing with Anson, Darrell went on to work with Ronnie Earl before releasing a fine disc of his own for the label.
His next outing was called "BlueSoul," a title that summed up his musical philosophy quite succinctly; for a number of years now he's been moving toward a sublime synthesis of the two forms. "Times Like These," Darrell's third release on New England's Severn Records, sees his vision fully realized.
Darrell's possessed of a fine if not terribly remarkable voice, with just a hint of Texas drawl; but he's unquestionably a superior singer, somehow able to convey a wealth of emotion without the need to resort to histrionics. He's backed here by a fine band; although advance copies don't list credits, I'd be inclined to guess it's the usual suspects, including long-time cohort Johnny Moeller on guitar and label mate Benjie Porecki on keys.
The lack of supporting information also means I can't list song titles with any guarantee of accuracy; but I can say with absolute certainty that the music is indeed a perfect blend of deep soul and Texas-influenced blues, all done with Darrell's usual impeccable taste. Just listen to the gently swaying second cut, and the way the horns and organ alternately accentuate and support each other; or the third track, a greasy Jimmy Reed-style blues where Darrell's thick-toned harp is used sparingly to maximum effect.
Like Darrell's almost laconic singing, arrangements throughout are relaxed, the grooves invariably easy going; that's not by any means to imply a lack of passion, it's just that it's tempered by a restraint that comes only with maturity. Left behind are the mercurial exuberance of youth and its unbridled energy; in their stead, Darrell offers the considered reflections of a hard-earned wisdom and experience.
If it's over-the-top pyrotechnics you're after you'll probably find this a bit on the sleepy side; bluz-rockers needn't apply. But if your tastes run to music that's carefully crafted with intelligence and taste, if you appreciate the merits of a subtle and well-placed accent and can live without blistering barrages of notes . . . if you don't mind equal doses of soul mixed in with the twelve-bars, and can handle a little romance as well . . . well, Darrell's as good as it gets.
An absolutely stellar outing by one of the best singers around. This is one for the ages!
Severn Records, Inc.
P.O. Box 1450 Millersville, MD, 21108
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