by Shannon Smith
Datura Road Review
Datura Road is a group based in the Hudson Valley and greater New York area. Their debut release, Datura Road, features instruments such as the ud/oud, doumbek, bansuri, and tabla, in addition to the more familiar guitar, bass, and drum framework. The band has begun to tour throughout the Hudson Valley making appearances at the Rosendale Street Festival, Dogwood Bar in Beacon, Woodstock’s Summer Music Series Concerts on the Green, and was featured on WDST’s Roundtable program hosted by Doug Grunther. One thing is for certain, it’s a warming collaborative sound that is accessible and enjoyable at the highest level.
A highlight tune is “Ocean Dance” an exotic mix of sounds and instrumental colors set to a relaxed feel that sways with influences from Latin music and world music. The melody is performed with mandolin, oud, and clarinet. This is a wonderful sound that transmits the exotic scale the melody is based on perfectly. Guest, Tim Allen, performs a magnificent solo that matches the melody. Nobile performs on oud on this track, his solo is melodic, and the tone is warm. The feel is beautiful, the band does speed up over the course of the track, but that adds to the energy and feel. The rhythm section of Murphy and Budd make for a solid foundation for the melody and solos. Datura Road has a wonderful instrumental tack with “Ocean Dance” that fits well with the other material on the album. This is joyful music written and performed to elicit the same feeling from its listeners. The song is dedicated to the Yoruba deity Yemanjá, Goddess of the Living Ocean.
Another outstanding track is the the lone cover on the CD, it is the Beatles’ “Norwegian Wood,” reimagined with ud, tabla, and twelve-string guitar. This is a refreshing arrangement of the well-known Beatles classic. Guest Eric Archer adds the pulse of the tabla drums. The singing is interesting, and they do a stand-up job of the vocal harmonies, no small feat when doing the fab five’s music. The ud and twelve-string guitar make a wonderful string chorus to convey the melody. The result, “Norwegian Wood” is transported to the glorious realm of world music, with the fresh sounding percussion and instruments, Datura Road has certainly come up with a winning arrangement that will appeal to a wide audience and will serve as a gate way to explore the bands creative orginals.
Datura Road is a cohesive and heartwarming group, that offers tunes in varying styles. From warm dance grooves, smoky Latin ballads, and trance-like meditations that enliven the senses and create great joy from song to song in the program. Datura Road the album is a wonderful addition to any world music collection.