Posted by: Joe | April 14, 2009


Almost 4 years ago, my friend Josh had his 30th birthday party at the Drake Hotel.  While most of the night is a Manhattan-induced blur, I clearly remember Keifer Sutherland entering the lounge with young looking skinny guy and a guitar case.

At the time 24 was at the height of its popularity, and virtually all eyes in the room were on Jack Bauer.  But shortly after the guitar case opened, everybody’s attention was on Rocco DeLuca and his Dobro.

I’ve enjoyed his debut album over the past couple years (released by Ironworks Music, co-owned by Sutherland), but to understand what he’s about, you really need to see him live.  The depth and richness of the acoustic slide Dobro just doesn’t come through in the studio.  Neither does it convey the immaculate control he has over his voice, which changes from a Buckley-esque crooning falsetto to a Robert Plant wail in a heartbeat.

Last night Rocco DeLuca and the Burden were at the Horseshoe last night to support their new album, Mercy.  I was expecting the full 4-piece band, but apparently some band drama has led to a split, and drummer Ryan Carmen was the only accompaniment.  I barely recognized him as he took the stage.  The jeans-and-tee have been replaced by the requisite black jacket and skinny tie.  Bearded, worn, a little heavier and a little more tired, he looks like a bluesman.

But the sound hasn’t changed, and personally, I was more than happy with a two-piece–DeLuca is the focus and the fewer things that distract from him, the better.  “Bright Lights(Losing Control)”, “Swing Low” and “I Trust You To Kill Me” were epic.  It’s a shame the crowd was so small.

I haven’t grabbed the new album yet, but I’ll probably download it tonight.  I can’t wait to see if Daniel Lanois was able to do a better job of capturing the sound on CD.


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