Jesse DeNatale,
Shangri-La West
(Jackpine, 2003)

Jesse DeNatale is a new name who comes with good words from the likes of Tom Waites and Ramblin' Jack Elliot and actually fulfils the promise. His mix of story-songs and rhythm-and-blues manages to grab your attention from track one.

"Twilight King" is delivered like a Van Morrison song with a lovely backing and a haunting mellow voice. It is late-night listening at its best. One could imagine a magnificent live set in a warm bar or club. There is a mature confidence in the performance on this CD with "Rosie" and "Riding Gloves" bringing contrasts in delivery.

"Angel Baby" is a beautiful nostalgic song that makes perfect use of piano and vocal backing. Here he brings us back to days gone by and the music makers of the time. I defy anyone to start listening to "Sister Lucy" and fail to stay until the end. It is hypnotic and draws you on wanting to know the end.

"Saint William" again brings us back to a Van Morrison comparison. This reminded me in many ways to "Coney Island" by the Belfast songsmith. He then heads off in a new direction with a shuffling sound on "Greenfield Lane," showing how hard it is to categorise a good singer-songwriter.

This CD was a joy to listen to but I believe that any listener would benefit from a printed insert of the lyrics.

DeNatale has that raw voice and energy that is hypnotic when the listener is in the mood for it. His songs show a definite love of words and rhythms. Here is a singer and writer that we will hear a lot more from and about.

- Rambles
written by Nicky Rossiter
published 19 April 2003

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