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The Graham Album Review #2185

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Danielle Nicole: The Love You Bleed

(Independent Release, as broadcast on WVIA-FM 2/7/2024)

The revival of 1960s-influenced soul and R&B, continues unabated, with younger artists emulating the sounds that were popular decades before they were born. And some of the old veterans, in their 70s, 80s, and even 90s have been continuing on, doing admirable work. In turn, that style was influenced by the blues of previous generations, and has since gone on to influence further generations, not only in the revival of sound of that era, but by artists who are incorporating it into more contemporary sounds.

This week, we have a new recording by one of those relatively younger artists who are carrying on the retro soul and blues sound, and doing it with all right ingredients. It’s by Danielle Nicole, and her new release, her third as a solo, is called The Love You Bleed.

Danielle Nicole Schnebelen grew up in a musical family. Both her parents performed blues around their hometown Kansas City. Her grandmother Evelyn Skinner was a big band singer. While still in her teens she joined joined her father’s band Little Eva and the Works. Her two brothers, guitarist Nick and drummer Kris, were also performing in separate bands. They eventually decided to form a family band, though by then they were in different cities. Danielle learned bass to be part of the band, and thus began the group Trampled Under Foot, releasing their debut album in 2007, and the following year, they won the International Blues Competition in Memphis. Trampled Under Foot eventually released five albums before Danielle set off on her own career in 2015, releasing an album called Wolf Den, recorded in New Orleans, and followed that with Cry No More in 2018 which we featured on this album review series. Now, after five years, Danielle Nicole is out with The Love You Bleed, a collection of mostly original songs in a tasteful sort of classic blues, rock and soul setting, which highlights her often powerful vocals.

This album features some of the personnel who worked with her on her previous solo releases and with the latter Trampled Under Foot recording, including drummer-percussionist and producer Tony Braunagel, known for his work with Bonnie Raitt. Also appearing is guitarist Brandon Miller, keyboardist Damon Parker, and drummer Go-Go Ray. They are a tight group who strike the right grooves for the various songs, which run from folky acoustic to swampy soul to all-out electric rock. Danielle Nicole described this album as different because most of the original songs on the recording are related to love, falling into and out of love, and trying to maintain it in the face of adversity.

Opening is a song with an appropriate title for an album like this Love on My Brain co-written, like quite a few of the 12 tracks on the album, by Danielle Nicole and her guitarist Brandon Miller. It’s a great Memphis-soul-influenced tune that the band sinks their teeth into. <<>>

Showing some Motown influence is Make Love about preserving that love despite what can come around. <<>>

One of Danielle Nicole’s strongest vocal performances on the album come on the track called Right By Your Side, also with a great retro soul sound, with a kind of Memphis-style groove providing the backdrop for Danielle Nicole to belt out the song. <<>>

More toward straight out rock is the track Fireproof which the band also deliver with a lot of energy. <<>>

A first for Danielle Nicole on the new album are a couple of acoustic tunes. One of them is A Lover Is Forever written by the late Chicago folksinger Steve Goodman. <<>>

To balance out the more energetic tracks on the album there are a couple of slower ballads, which Danielle Nicole also handles nicely. Say You’ll Stay stays on topic with the lyrics about love and its emotional span. The tune even has a string arrangement. <<>>

But that doesn’t last. The album gets down and dirty on the track called Fool’s Gold which is the sort of thing that Danielle Nicole is best at. <<>>

The album ends with the other of the acoustic tracks, Young Love on the Hill which can sound surprisingly folky. <<>>

Danielle Nicole Schnebelen’s new album The Love That You Bleed is another strong record from this bass-playing Kansas City performer who has been singing the blues for most of her life. The album’s lyrical theme is love and Danielle Nicole explores it in various ways both lyrically and musically in terms of the arrangements. Like much of her previous work, the album draws on the traditions of the soul artists of the 1960s from both the Memphis and Motown schools. The band is tight and the production is crisp and no-nonsense, keeping it tasteful and still energetic.

Our grade for audio quality is close to an “A,” like her previous albums, there’s good clarity and no unnecessary effects on Danielle Nicole’s vocals. She is a bass player, and on some of the tracks, her bass could have been a tad more prominent in the mix. But overall, it the sound is commendable.

The revival of soul, blues and R&B continues strongly into the 2020s, thanks to artists like Danielle Nicole.

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This page last updated February 12, 2024