by J. Pepper
Datura Road is a band of friendships as well as musically likeminded souls. The band formed when Matt Nobile invited guitarist/mandolinist, and former teacher Raphael Garritano, to work through some songs that Matt had been stockpiling. Percussionist David Budd, who had played with both Nobile and Garritano in the local Latin group, Passero, were asked to join the group shortly after. Bassist Peter Nobile was pulled into the studio by his son Matt to finish the album project and quickly became the permanent fourth member. Their music is influenced by western classical, medieval music, West African and Middle Eastern music. Their self-titled album Datura Road is an union of each musicians influences in music, together they offer a worldly sound that is expertly performed.
A highlight tracks is placed late in the programming and is titled, “Red Velvet.” It is a striking and seductive South American ballad that is taken at a mid-temp pace adding to its sonic palette, Garritano explores his mandolin strings to colorize and flavor the track. Lyrically Nobile describes the song as a “battle between physical temptation and emotional well-being. Despite varied subject matter, the lyrics are often metaphorical and repeatedly reference both nature and tactile sensations.”
“Bird Medicine” was taken from the visual of blue jays and crows fighting during sunrise. Musically you can visualize the two birds in their dance of dominance, each taking their turn and showing their skill. On this tracks Steve Gorn adds a beautifully lilting sound with the bansuri. While “Ocean Dance” is dedicated to the Yoruba deity Yemanjá, Goddess of the Living Ocean with striking result.
There is a singular cover on the album, The Beatles “Norwegian Wood.” Datura Road approaches the tune with ud, tabla, and twelve-string guitar. It has a refreshing sound and Nobile is inspired. His influence is immediately evident. His voice is natural and organically pleasing. The softness in his voice is alluring and calming. The band creates a beautiful tapestry for Nobile to weave upon.
Datura Road the group and the album is a must have. The calming nature of the album, the connective tissue of the players and their rapport with each other is stunning. The album will put you in a freshened state after just one listen. So, take two, take three, you will find yourself feeling better each time. Highly recommended.