Album Reviews

Scott Ramminger

Do What Your Heart Says To

Artist:     Scott Ramminger

Album:     Do What Your Heart Says To

Label:     Self Released

Release Date:     02/17/2017


Round up the best session players in New Orleans. Bring in top flight female singers like Bekka Bramlett, Francine Reed, Janiva Magness and the McCrary Sisters. How can you lose? The ability to pull this off is off is a testament to the credibility and emerging strength of clever songwriter, vocalist, and saxophonist Scott Ramminger for this, his third CD. His songs carry a sense of humor and offbeat reflections not unlike Al Basile. Ramminger was originally based in Washington D.C. but has since relocated to Nashville. The ebullient, mostly joyous, and downright funky tunes on this album lie somewhere between vintage Delbert McClinton, early Dr. John, and folks like Eric Lindell. While Ramminger’s voice may not be quite the same caliber as those artists, he’s smart enough to add the harmonies of some of the best female voices anywhere.

The session players for this hour of music include Shane Theriot on guitar, David Torkanowsky on keys, George Porter Jr. on bass, and Doug Belote on drums, with two tracks featuring Roland Guerin on bass and Johnny Vidacovich on drums. Trombones from Rick Trolsen and Greg Hicks as well as trumpet from Eric Lucero add to the sound on several tracks. Theriot, who is now the musical director of “Live from Daryl’s House,” was a part owner of Fudge Studios, where the album was recorded. Ramminger explains, “Those guys were trying to get a kind of a Swampers kind of thing going… Shane and I were just talking about the fact that I wound up being one of a very few folks who got to take advantage of that. These guys are some of the baddest cats on the planet. They can play authentically in a whole bunch of styles… My songs are pretty harmonically basic, but I like to mix the grooves up… All these guys were fantastic to work with.”

No, there’s no filler here. This is pure funk, swing, and swagger. Aside from the title track that features Francine Reed, these are the ones you can’t afford to miss: “Give a Pencil to a Fish” and “Get Back Up”(The McCrary Sisters), “It’s Hard To Be Me” (Janiva Magness) and “Mystery to Me” (Tommy Malone and a cast of thousands). Throughout, your jaw may drop a few times listening to Torkanowsky’s piano, Ramminger’s full-bodied tenor and baritone sax solos, and Theriot’s guitar excursions.

This album will bring smiles (“I Need a New One”) (Stubborn Man”), get you dancing (just about every track), and is the perfect soundtrack for your own Mardi Gras celebration.

—Jim Hynes

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