RNR (UK) – Review
Donna Herula – Bang at the Door
Bank At the Door is native Chicagoan Donna Herula’s third album, woodily organic in sound, unafraid to push at blues boundaries in visiting its most distant outposts via eleven very strong self-penned songs, and respectful Booker White, Lucinda Williams and Blind Willie Johnson covers.
The rat-tat-tat-tat rhythm of the title track is a sort of musical nominative determinism, the arrangement living up to its title, ‘Can’t Wait To See My Baby’ hints at Jimmy Reed, enhanced by Tony Nardiello’s vocal, and ‘Promise Me’ sees Herula relax into a pastoral folk mood.
An acknowledged master of the resonator bottleneck guitar, it is ever-present in her arrangements without ever dominating the songs. Accompaniments are unobtrusive too, Daryl Davis’s piano and Bill Newton’s blues harp adding melodic piquancy to the joyful ‘I Got No Way Home’.
Blind Willie Johnson’s ‘Soul Of A Man’ stands out among the covers, the female voice giving new perspective on the content, but Lucinda Williams’s ‘Jackson’ excels too, Herula’s deft slide and fingerpicked lines an ideal foil for Nardiello’s lead vocal and Donna’s own harmony.
– DAVID INNES