Since debuting in 2008 with Heal My Blues, singer/songwriter/guitarist Dani Wilde has established herself as one of the leading lights in contemporary British blues. A passionate artist gifted in all facets of making music, Wilde continued to turn heads with her second international release, Shine, as well as through her successful collaboration with Cassie Taylor and Samantha Fish on the Girls With Guitars project. Following a busy year of touring that introduced her to new audiences across Europe and the USA, the native of Brighton, England now returns with her third solo effort, Juice Me Up.
The focus this time around is on meticulously arranged soul, funk and southern grooves, with Wilde – as always – further expanding her artistic horizons on a bold selection of original material and a pair of choice covers. Sometimes, as on “All I Need” or the title track “Juice Me Up” (inspired by Dani’s labelmate Oli Brown), it’s all about the men and boys in her life. Elsewhere, the singer reveals a socially-conscious side to her persona that has been there from the very beginning. “One of the songs I am most proud of is ‘Crazy World’,” she explains. “It’s about rebel groups in Africa that recruit child soldiers. It’s about world conflict and how we in the Western World need to unite to put an end to inequality and protect our world’s children.” The song has a definite 70’s funk feel, referencing the likes of Issac Hayes and Bill Withers.
Wilde sings “The Burning Truth” with a suitably tough edge as she addresses the unrest that erupted in England’s inner cities in the summer of 2011. She rounds out the album with blues, ballads and classic Memphis-style soul, as well as the bonus track “I Will Be Waiting,” an acoustic duet with second guitarist Stuart Dixon. “The two of us recorded the vocals and guitar together live in one take. It’s a song that means a lot to me, and it felt like capturing a piece of magic.”
Returnees from her sophomore effort Shine include Dixon, veteran bassist Roger Inniss, first-call drummer Jamie Little (who also produced) and keyboard stalwart Pete Wingfield. Dani’s brother Will Wilde adds some blues harp sizzle to the Albert King and Ray Charles-inspired “Mississippi Kisses.” A horn section bolsters roughly half the album’s 13 cuts. “The atmosphere in the studio was really relaxed this time around,” recalls Wilde of the recent recording sessions. “All the musicians on board are good friends of mine and of each other. So no one was shy about putting alternative ideas into the creative mix.”
New to the fold is bassist Victoria Smith, who will also accompany Wilde on the 2012 edition of the Blues Caravan. Though the tour is titled “More Girls With Guitars,” the guitar player label doesn’t quite do Dani Wilde justice. With Juice Me Up, she once again demonstrates her accomplishment as a singer and songwriter open to new sounds and fresh ideas.
Dani Wilde – Juice Me Up
Format: CD / Label: Ruf Records / Release: February 2012
Don’t Go Making Me Cry
Walk Out The Front Door
Let Me Show You
Who’s Loving You
All I Need
The Burning Truth
Call On Me
Juice Me Up
I Will Be Waiting