Danny Brooks No Easy Way Out

With this CD, Canada’s Danny Brooks is finally home. After releasing a series of soul-based, gospel-infused, blues-informed CDs, the last two produced by the late Richard Bell, he headed to Decatur, Alabama, recording at the invitation of legendary producer Johnny Sandlin. Joining Brooks for the session is a who’s who of Muscle Shoals era musicians, including David Hood, Spooner Oldham, Bill Stewart and Scott Boyer, along with vocalist Bonnie Bramlett. It’s easy to understand Sandlin choosing Brooks to record for his newly formed Rockin’ Camel Records. Brooks is the possessor of a powerful voice, one that’s been described as "reminiscent of Eddie Hinton, Solomon Burke and Howlin’ Wolf rolled into one,” and that’s no exaggeration. Brooks writes songs rooted in classic themes of love, life and the possibility of redemption, many of them based on the tough personal journey he’s experienced during nearly 30 years in the music business. No Easy Way Out is a superb Southern music recording, in the same league as recent CDs by Mavis Staples or Otis Clay. Highlights include the brooding title track and the joyous "Miracles for Breakfast.” The backing players provide Brooks with the ideal setting. When they step into the limelight, such as Oldham’s subtle Wurlitzer solo melding beautifully with James Pennebaker’s pedal steel during heartfelt ballad "Keys To My Heart,” it makes for a sublime listening experience. (Rockin' Camel)