‘So Much Trouble’ is the latest release by award-winning blues harmonica player David Rotundo. Having signed to the newly established Dreams We Share label, the record was produced by fellow harmonica virtuoso Lee Oskar, a collaboration that reaps rewards in the music.
‘She’s Dynamite’ opens the record with an energetic Chicago blues vibe driven by Rotundo’s blistering harmonica playing and the Hammond B3 of Ron Weinstein. Not for the first time, the listener will make comparisons between Rotundo’s harmonica style and that of the late great Junior Wells. The continued influence of Wells shines through on the humorous up-tempo ‘Drinking Overtime’.
‘Hard Times Coming’ has a stripped back acoustic blues arrangement that makes it easy to imagine Rotundo sitting on his porch singing away. In a similar fashion, a cover of the Richard M. Jones classic, ‘Trouble In Mind’ closes the record proving Rotundo’s natural affinity for the blues.
‘So Much Trouble’ has more of a contemporary blues style to it. Relevant to the 21st century, the depth of Rotundo’s songwriting skills really come to the fore alongside some sultry work by Ron Weinstein’s Hammond and a searing solo by guitarist Skylar Mehal.
The brooding blues of ‘That Thing Called Love’ is a testament to the connection between the Rotundo and his fellow musicians in the studio. The interplay between Ron Weinstein’s smouldering Hammond, Rotundo’s harmonica, and Darian Asplund’s saxophone is spine-tingling as they expertly interweave their instruments around each other in the arrangement.
Leading the listener into world music territory, ‘Long Road’ mixes hypnotic percussion, an ensemble harmony, and a mesmerising string arrangement with ethereal results. A song that very much harkens back to the psychedelic era of The Beatles.
With humour, social issues, and lots of soul, ‘So Much Trouble’ is an energetic, contemporary blues record full of dynamic beats and driving rhythms lead by a world-class harmonica player backed up by some exceptional musicians.