Jeffrey Halford & The Healers - 'Rainmaker'
Shoeless Records/Sonic RendezVous
Jeffrey Whitmore Halford grew up listening to music on a two dollar transistor radio. Now that is something I can relate to! Apparently his family was rather poor, he was born in Dallas but then they went to California, moving around a lot in the area between Los Angeles and San Francisco. If he's not touring, we can still find him in the City by the Bay and that's where he also made his seventh album! I went through my collection and I only found 'Railbirds' from 2005, a fine album with guest appearances by Chuck Prophet and Augie Meyers. But good artists age like fine wine...
This is rootsmusic as it should be! With influences from blues, country, folk and rock - still sounding like nobody else but Jeffrey Halford. We hear the honesty in his genuine voice as he tells his stories about good times and bad times, about traveling and coming home and all the people who inspired him. If he were a playwright or a novelist, he would probably be compared to Sam Shepard and Jack Kerouac.
Jeffrey shows off a beautiful guitar on the front cover and he plays various guitars indeed: acoustic, electric, the famous 'National Resophonic' and he uses the slide - that's my kind of player! The Healers are: Michael Messer (drums), Paul Olguin (electric bass guitar and acoustic stand-up bass) and Adam Rossi (piano, organ, cajon, percussion - he sings too). They have a good chemistry as a band. I'm very pleased to see my favorite Tom Heyman among the guest musicians! He plays pedal steel and an extra electric guitar on two tracks. Tom toured with Chuck Prophet's Mission Express in Europe, but I still remember him best in The Court and Spark: playing in San Francisco (a church building) and that concert is still in my Top Ten of all times! He just made his third album as a singer-songwriter. Another familiar name: Victor Krummenacher, he took care of the CD graphics for Jeffrey, but we know his music too: Camper Van Beethoven and Cracker, also some solo work.
Let's listen to the music! The album starts off with the title track "Rainmaker". A memorable melody makes a good title track. Bruce Kaphan (Talking Heads, Sheryl Crow, Black Crowes) guests on guitar - a guarantee for a great solo.
"Lost Highway" is a solid rocker with a driving beat and a grinding slide guitar, it's almost like the angry guitar talks back!
"Mexico" has that feeling of an old western movie, the tempo slows down in guitar work with riffs and effects. Somebody gets drunk and emotional, it's way too easy to be seduced...