Thursday, August 05, 2010

D. B. Rielly - Love Potions and Snake Oil (2009)

Where has D. B. Rielly been all of our musical lives? It isn't fair that he has been holding out on us all of these years because I can say without a doubt that Love Potions and Snake Oil is one of the best debut CDs I've heard in quite awhile.

Rielly is a singer-songwriter and multi-instrumentalist who plays guitar, banjo, mandolin, various percussion instruments, and even accordion on five tracks. His music can be heard on more than forty independent recordings and films and his work has been praised by the likes of B. B. King, Phil Ramone, and many others. He has played The Apollo Theater, Lincoln Center, and The Montreaux Jazz Festival.

While Rielly is a resident of New York City his taste in music makes him a fish out of water. All ten self-penned tunes are pure Americana and are heavily influenced by zydeco, blues, and any other American roots music that seeps into his brain. Rielly is a modern man making new music from our past. It's alt-country for rock 'n rollers.

"One of These Days" opens the self-produced disc with some pure cajun accordion over a dance beat that is a perfect choice to get your party started. There are some nice ballads, "One Day at a Time," "Love Me Today," "Don't Give Up On Me," and the album's first single, "Save All Your Kisses." It's always hard to avoid cloying cliches and syrupy imagery while writing love songs but Rielly gets his point across without falling into those traps. "We're All Going Straight To Hell" and "I Got A Girlfriend" show off his very dark and irreverent sense of humor. "Got A Mind" is a serious banjo blues about one man's independent idea of how justice should be served.

The CD case is a welcome surprise too. While most artists are cheapening their packaging, favoring soft, easily damaged cardboard over more rugged jewel boxes, Reilly has delivered the disc in a classy tin box, a nice touch you won't enjoy if you buy the album digitally.

I'm sure Rielly would love to win a Grammy and get rich but Love Potions and Snake Oil is truly a labor of love not calculated to maximize units sold. Music of this ilk may have a sizable cult following but platinum sales are most certainly a pipe dream and that, unfortunately, is a real shame.

Here are the official videos for "Save All Your Kisses" and "I Got A Girlfriend."


  1. Man, "I Got A Girlfriend" is seriously twisted! What fun! Thanks for the tip. I'll have to look into getting this, tin box and all.

  2. You put it well: "Where has this guy been?"

    Great album, a joy from beginning to end. Can't wait to see what comes from him in the future.