Blues Matters UK – Review
August/September 2021 Issue
Donna Herula – Bang at the Door
Donna Herula hails from Chicago and is a regular performer at Buddy Guy’s Legends Club. So, there is a definite pedigree to start with. Bang At The Door is her third album, where she is joined on a couple of tunes by her husband and collaborator, Tony Nardiello. One of the things that I liked straight away about this album was the use of Resonator guitar on every track. Herula is an accomplished singer/songwriter and brilliant guitar player.
The title track kicks off the album in fine style. Resonator guitar and silky vocals are a perfect fit for a blues album with a hint of Americana thrown in for good measure. Pass The Biscuit describes life in the delta impeccably. Delta blues mixed with Chicago blues is a match made in heaven. Drawing from the musical hotbeds of blues, it shows in her writing and delivery. Not Lookin’ Back sees the introduction of the piano, courtesy of Doug Hammer. Brilliant lyrics, the consistency of the Resonator guitar and blues
“a mighty fine album”
piano makes this a great tune. One could imagine a smoke-filled bar back in the 20s with Herula and her band performing this. Of course, we wouldn’t need the smoke, but you get a general feeling. I Got No Way Home could quite easily be the next song in the smoke-filled bar, with a glass of bourbon for company. Fixin’ To Die (Bukka White) is the only cover on the album. I’ve heard lots of versions of this classic, and this one can stand shoulder to shoulder alongside them all.
Herula performs this solo with the Resonator and a foot stomp for company. Stunning version of a classic. Jackson Ft. Tony Nardiello is a lovely sweet lament. An accomplished vocalist in his own right, Nardiello adds an extra touch of smoothness to this track. What’s Been Cookin’ in My Kitchen convinces me that Herula could make a completely acoustic solo blues album in the blink of an eye. This song is the epitome of simple, laid-back acoustic blues. In short, it’s a mighty fine album.
– STEPHEN HARRISON