Rated 5 out of
Danielle Nicole Band - Nell’s Jazz & Blues - 01/06/19
Danielle Nicole comes from a musical family in Kansas City, Missouri. Her father, Bob Schnebelen, is a blues musician, as are her brothers, Nick and Kris. In 2000, the three siblings formed the band Trampled Under Foot. At the 2014 Blues Music Awards, Trampled Under Foot's album, ‘Badlands’ won the 'Contemporary Blues Album of the Year' category. At the same ceremony, Danielle Nicole, under the name of Danielle Schnebelen, triumphed in the 'Best Instrumentalist – Bass' category. The band was also nominated in the 'Band of the Year category. Danielle is now striking out on her own with the same level of success and I have been looking forward to catching her for some time.
Well short of capacity on the night which was always going to be the case when it clashed with two English teams contesting the top prize in European club football. The local boozer was hosting the game and the “support your not so local” Liverpool fans were queuing en mass to gain entry to the pub. Nevertheless, an appreciative audience, spoiled by the antics of just one individual who had been drinking on an empty head, made Danielle and her band very welcome.
Much of the setlist showcased Danielle’s excellent 2018 Grammy nominated album ‘Cry No More’ which was produced by American drummer Tony Braunagel who I was first introduced to when I saw him behind the kit in Paul Kossoff’s Back Street Crawler in 1975.
Pusher Man from said release was the strong opener which demonstrated the quality of this three piece band, Danielle Nicole on bass and lead vocal, Brandon Miller (guitar) and Ralph Forrest (Drums). This young lady has not only been blessed with a terrific voice which you feel would struggle to hit a wrong note, she is a terrific bass player, if she wasn’t it would become apparent in a powerful three piece such as this was.
‘I’m Going Home’, a mid tempo blues, followed and it was obvious that Danielle was having a problem with her sound, although this wasn’t a flaw picked up by the audience. The sound man was working hard to rectify the problem and Danielle was happy in the end and took time out to praise the shift that this young man was putting in on the sound desk and stage.
There wasn’t too much evidence of any air-conditioning on a particularly hot June day and ‘Hot Spell’ was a very fitting number as the sweat was dripping off both the audience as well as the band. Danielle’s vocals were supreme throughout the evening but really came to life on this number. As mentioned earlier, in the main, the setlist was formed of numbers from Danielle’s most recent release and two slow blues numbers from this, ‘Poison The Well’ and ‘My Heart Remains’ were divided by two catchy little numbers from her 2015 debut ‘Cry Wolf’; ‘It Ain’t You’ and ‘You Only Need Me When You’re Down’.
Two covers were up next, a well worked version of Blind Willy Johnson’s ‘Lord, I Just Can’t Keep From Crying’ and she turned up the heat even more with a cracking version of Willy Dixon’s classic ‘I Just Want To Make Love To You’.
If I was going to be super critical I would suggest that many of the numbers from ‘Cry No More’, in particular the title track, were crying out for the tasteful keyboards featured on the album versions. This is, unfortunately, so often the case when musicians visit our Continent and perhaps understandable for budget reasons.
I was hopeful that ‘Crawl’ would feature and I was not disappointed, the band gave us an explosive performance and I would go home a happy man. However, it wasn’t time to go just yet. ‘Save Me’ followed, a number where Danielle is joined by Kenny Wayne Shepherd on the album, Brandon Miller’s fine effortless guitar on this performance lacked nothing. Great lyric throughout opening with ‘Fire in my eyes, you feel the heat on your skin....you wanna take me to the bank side, try to wash away my sin’.
‘Goodbye Goodnight’, a slow blues, foot off the gas number before going into the brilliant title track from Danielle’s debut ‘Wolf Den’ maintaining the feel good factor with ‘Burnin’ For You’.
This very talented young lady and her powerhouse band left us with what is becoming a popular cover these days, ‘Purple Rain’ and they certainly did it justice.
An excellent evening wherein we were treated to over two hours of quality blues. I will certainly be looking forward to repeating this experience the next time this talented young lady visits these shores.
Date published: 2019-06-02