Against The Grain

Joel DaSilva

Independent release, 2021

REVIEW BY: Conrad Warre


The Florida-based American, Brazilian, and Ukrainian guitarist, singer, and songwriter Joel DaSilva grew up in Chicago, Illinois but now lives in Fort Lauderdale. When he was 18, DaSilva joined Junior Drinkwater & The Thirstquenchers as their lead guitarist. He moved on to the rockabilly band the Regulators and subsequently signed to Columbia Records with the Underbellys, co-writing with Pat Dinizio of the Smithereens who was producing the band, and later joined the Hep Cat Boo Daddies. All of these combined to become a learning curve for a working blues guitarist and has shaped DaSilva’s playing as a hypersonic rockabilly-leaning blues guitarslinger. While he can lean on a note, DaSilva’s first instinct when playing will be to tear down the walls with a frenzied launch of notes each more urgent than the other.my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250

The new Joel DaSilva album Against The Grain was recorded at DogManic Recording Studios in Pompano Beach, Florida and was produced by Christian Solazzo, the CEO and in-house Producer at DogManic. It features Joel DaSilva on six-string guitars and vocals, Dale Pohly on bass guitar, and Austen Erblat on drums (he also plays with Pohly in the rock and roll band Coral Canyons).

The album showcases DaSilva’s ability to electrify an audience with careening speed and volume. All eight tracks are original DaSilva compositions and get the blood flowing as soon as the needle hits the groove opening with the up-tempo 12 bar instrumental “Jack’s Groove.” “Don’t Come Around Here” introduces DaSilva’s vocals riding over power chords and a driving beat, which keeps up the momentum of the album’s start.

The lead guitar jumps in between the sung verses with all the intensity of a hard rock band sitting on a blues boogie framework. “The Vampires” introduces a more complex arrangement for the band to deliver a mid-tempo spooky rock anthem featuring some incendiary guitar howling. “Two Blind Dogs” has a more traditional blues format, reminiscent of the early Fleetwood Mac’s Peter Green song “Long Grey Mare” wrapped with a restrained, clean lead guitar circling the vocals. Then, DaSilva switches guitar to introduce an aggressive humbucking voice, which alternates nicely with the verse guitar elements.

The album is sequenced to switch from blues to rock and keeps the listener on their toes. The close out track “Lover’s Rhumba” could easily have been lifted from a Ronnie Earl album, while an earlier song “Come Undone” sounds like a demo for the band Mastodon when it kicks in. This album is not for the faint of heart; if you like blues, be prepared to be knocked off your seat occasionally, and if you like rock and roll, get ready to hear some really well played modern blues.

Rating: B+

User Rating: Not Yet Rated



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