Romi Mayes

Devil On Both Shoulders

BY Sarah GreenePublished May 12, 2015

Folk meets funk on Romi Mayes' seductive, gritty sixth album, Devil On Both Shoulders. The gutsy Winnipeg songwriter and her band (led by Corb Lund guitarist Grant Siemens) are smokin' on the new blues rock tunes and — though Mayes recently quit smoking — her voice packs a rare punch of sweetness and charismatic soul.
The collection feels like a throwback (Mayes was going for a JJ Cale, Beatles and Stones groove). With Siemens' raunchy guitar tones on the title track and "Low Light Lady" and dirty slide on songs like "Bee Sting," not to mention vintage organ sounds, funky bass and New Meanies' Damon Mitchell's crisp and delicious drumming throughout, this is clearly an album to get down to.
"Let You Down" is an intoxicatingly buoyant ride, hanging out on a tried and true blues guitar riff while Mayes casually hollers out her simple and direct lines. Her straightforward writing is part of her charm, but at times — especially when she slows things down for torch songs like "Make Your Move" and the closing piano ballad, "Walk Away" — one wishes Mayes' songwriting could be as classic as her and her band's performances are.

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