Album Review: Vintage Trouble’s The Bomb Shelter Sessions

The first Monday of April 2012, I was winding down my whirlwind birthday celebration week in NYC, which kicked off with a mind-blowing performance by Joan Osborne at City Winery, followed by a matinee of The Gershwin’s Porgy and Bess on Broadway, and then an intimate and awe-inspiring evening with one of my musical sheroes, Bettye Lavette, at the Café Carlyle.  The week of non-stop socializing, social dining, and returning to Brooklyn from Manhattan no earlier than 3AM every night would culminate with rocking out with none other than Van Hunt at the Studio at Webster Hall my last night in town. 

So there I was, hours before the show, cranky and reticent to admit that I had probably done too much and needed to go take a nap, lest my behavior begin to resemble that of someone who’d had “too much company” (a phrase used in my family, usually to describe children who start acting wild and unruly particularly when friends have come to visit).  Standing in line outside the venue waiting for the doors to open, all I could think about was how long it would be before I could take my shoes off.

And then, Vintage Trouble happened.

The quartet stormed the stage with such intensity that anyone in the audience who’d never heard of the band before that night (i.e., me and my friend who’d come to the show, and maybe a few others) was almost immediately converted to a fan–or, as Vintage Trouble likes to call them, a “TroubleMaker”.  Comprised of lead singer/frontman Ty Taylor (whose voice is a gorgeous blend of Corey Glover, Sanada Maitreya [Terrence Trent D’Arby for the uninitiated], and a touch of Otis Redding), guitarist Nalle Colt, Rick Barrio Dill on bass, and drummer Richard Danielson, the LA-based band is a musical phoenix of sorts; according to their bio, Vintage Trouble emerged from the remnants of other bands each of the members had been part of.

Just weeks after massacring the stage at Webster Hall, Vintage Trouble dropped their debut album The Bomb Shelter Sessions (aptly named, as the entire oeuvre was recorded in LA’s Bomb Shelter Studios).  Anchored by the rollicking opening track “Blues Hand Me Down”, the guaranteed hip-shaker “Nancy Lee” (which Ty Taylor said during the show in NYC was inspired by his parents’ courtship), and the soulful and introspective “Not Alright By Me”, The Bomb Shelter Sessions delivers gimmick-free grooves that harken back to the old school soul, R&B, and classic rock that once dominated the American music scene before being displaced by more disposable, ephemeral fare.  It is a tight, concise, and consistent record–no fluff, no throw-away tracks, no getting mid-way through the first listening thinking, ‘Yo, they could have tied this up back at track 13’.  With songs like “Gracefully” that entice you to take your lover for a spin around the dance floor, or the frenetic “Total Strangers”, which might cause you to take said lover on a different kind of…er…spin, The Bomb Shelter Sessions is that rare album that is flawless from beginning to end.  The closing track, the eight minute and some change “Run Outta You”, transports you to another time and space with its 50s-inspired blues and soul vibe and heart-in-the-palm-of-my-hand lyrical imagery.  This is not an album to be missed.

Download The Bomb Shelter Sessions on iTunes, and visit Vintage Trouble’s official website www.vintagetrouble.com for more information about the band and to find out when they’ll be performing live in your city!

–Rhonda Nicole

Rhonda Nicole is an independent singer/songwriter from Dallas, TX, based in the Bay Area.  Download her EP “Nuda Veritas” on CDBaby and iTunes, and follow her on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/rhondanicolemusic and on Twitter @wildhoneyrock.  She is also officially a “TroubleMaker”!

2 Comments

  1. Hi Ralph, u’re my hero and will always share my prayers with your heart desires. Don’t give up boy and stand for ur future challenge and you shall eat the fruit of your endeavor. Inshalla. I love you and stay blessed.

  2. Michelle says:

    I cannot express more happiness for anyone who discovers Vintage Trouble and gets it. They have changed a lot of lives and made e lot of people believe that new music CAN be that good :)
    Thanks for a wonderful review, and thanks to Vintage Trouble for being a light in our lives.

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