Step to the side with me for a moment, gents and all you cats I grew up with. Don't tell the wimmen-folk, just sidle on over to the back porch for half a moment, so's we can talk. This tarty new hellcat, this Davina Sowers, well, we all know her, don't we? She's the loner chick we knew in high school, the one no one could quite figure out, the Jezebel who exuded estrogen like a mid-day storm, but whom every one of us knew we were going to, if we could, bed and have us a high good time, marveling while reveling in the mysteries of the flesh…but were just as convinced we'd wake up in the morning all tore up, sore, and wondering just what the hell happened, while smiling like the cat that got the cream, if'n ya know what I mean. An' ya do, ya certainly do.
As to all the rest, well, hee-haw!, o my brothers and sisters of the liquid pleasures of the gin joint and bordello, this here Black Cloud is a beeline straight back to yesteryears when the trombone, not the guitar, was the mephitic tool of Dan Scratch, when hussies were brazen, kohl-eyed, and sassy as ya please. And dig this combo: while Sowers sings in that sex kitten voice of hers and plays a honky tonk pinnanner, Michael Carvale plunks a stand-up bass, Darren Sterud honks the aforementioned bone, Dan Eikmeier wields a trumpet, and Connor McRae mans the drums. That's it! No guitars, no synthesizers, no choruses of backing singers ('ceptin' when da boyz howl in the background), no 5,682 piece orchestras, just a rather raunchy, moody, delectable quintet that brings the French Quarter and Harlem right up to your doorstep, makin' yer ma question what kind of company you've been keeping: Leon Red - er - bone? Randy (whoops!) Newman?, maybe even Garrison Keel'er'over?, 'cause all this lowdown Whiskey River caterwauling and Saturday night jiggery pokery is agin' the Bible, son!!!
Ah, but here's the real wake up: Ms. Sowers wrote all the songs, every single consarned one of 'em. Unreal, says I, and indicative of a lot more going on behind those sultry eyes and come hither smile than even the exposition here on disc and elsewhere on stage gives rise to (well, hell's bells, we're all too busy trying to keep our trousers from making a commotion, no?). Thus, beside that Holiday / Kitt / Marrs (Asylum Street Spankers) naughtiness and warbling, there's a very formidable set of wetworks between those butterfly ears. Davina, it turns out, is in fact classically trained in a very artistic family but laboring quite cagily to step away from Ludwig Van and Johannes to bring you delectable snapshots and panoramas of the Barbary Coast, transplanted French cathouses, and even the underside of Mayberry. Don't saunter, y'all, don't sit on your thumbs, and, seriously, don't even lollygag, but rush on over to the that newfangled internet thing and grab you a copy of Black Cloud and then put them Playboys and Penthouses back under the bed. You're ready for the next step, Sparky, 'cause there's a lot more to living than all that bourgeois crap. Come on down to the bayou, and Davina and the gang'll show ya eggzackly what I mean.
Edited by: David N. Pyles
Copyright 2011, Peterborough Folk Music Society.
This review may be reprinted with prior permission and attribution.
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