The New Romans, B.B. King Blues Club

The New Romans


B.B. King Blues Club, December 22, 2005:


       After a busy Christmas afternoon in Manhattan, Kathy and I are looking forward to an inspiring night of musical entertainment at The B.B. King Blues club near Times Square. We have come to see my long-admired, singer/composer Terry Reid. I am on the guestlist+1 tonight, thanks again to Rena Siwek. We arrive very early and secure a front-center table. Tonight Davey Czyzyk serves us. The provisions and service are utterly impeccable. I am continually impressed by the superior service and delicious food provided at this fine establishment. The MTA strike has just ended hours ago, which should help tonight’s audience volume significantly.

       The opening band is The New Romans. They are debuting their new album, “Touch The Face Of God.” The music starts slow and easy. The sound is sensuous and full, with violin and pedal steel guitar. The band lays out a good beginning with competent male and female vocals, smart country lead guitar and a very steady bass line. The second song, “Pushin’,” is a leisurely ballad. The steady 4/4 tempo is sincere and tender. The percussionist uses brushes very effectively on his junior congas. The lead guitar is excellent and the arrangement is tight. The next composition is, “A Dreamer In An Hourglass.” The tempo is adagio with excellent vocals. The pedal steel is winsome and warm. The saxophone is strong and powerful and effectively complements the male and female vocals in an answer/response form. This tune is the strongest so far, with a nice dynamic flow that features Eric Behrens on alto sax.


Mike Quinn


Photo: ©A.J. Alfaro

       The next composition is, “Homeless In New York.” This funky arrangement conveys a strong message in its animated lyric line. The rhythm section is tight and the guitar is smokin’. Eric Behrens adds greatly with his wailin’ alto sax solo. “Till I Get Over You” is very upbeat and driving. The pedal steel is embracing and sooths the musical pallet like warm sweet jelly. The vocal harmonies are strong and the band is rockin’.


John Mulligan, Mike Quinn, Tony Alfieri, Eric Behrens, John Markowskie


Photo: ©A.J. Alfaro

       “The Rays That Shine” is slow and easy. It starts with a calming acoustic guitar and pedal steel intro. This song was performed for the courageous rescuers at ground zero. The melodic sound is consonant, then dissonant. The musical expression is very robust with everyone joining in together. There is a sensuous and dramatic sax solo.


Bob Hoffnar


Photo: ©A.J. Alfaro

       “What A Mess I’m Gonna’ Make,” is a song for lovers. The drummer cleverly articulates the beat with the reverse stick on his snare drum. The pedal steel is extremely comforting through creative melodic changes. The storyline is curious and captivating.   “I Want It So Bad” is upbeat and driving. This is country rock, full and engaging. The male and female vocals form a magnificent harmonic duet. The bass is bright and snappy with the drummer and percussionist cookin’ the rhythm section. The lead guitar wails with emotion.


Michael Zweigbaum


Photo: ©A.J. Alfaro

       “Gone To The Sea” features Allison Cornell on violin that is strong and powerful. The vocal harmonies are tight and sincere. The storyline is enchanting and very skillfully complemented by the violin, which is superb. “The Nightingale” was written at dawn. It feels like daybreak with the hushed acoustic guitar and violin. This song has the most delightful male and female vocal harmonies tonight. Their vocal blend is focused, clear and articulates superior lyrical content.


Allison Cornell


Photo: ©A.J. Alfaro

       “Touch The Face Of God,” is the title song of their new release. The music is sincere, genuine, deep and warm. The vocals and violin complement each other and convey superior melodic imagery. “New Romans” is next. “we are the new Romans,” is sung with conviction in a defiant and preaching narrative. Allison Cornell executes an excellent violin solo, which is both powerful and impressive. Eric Behrens is blowin’ his sax.


Allison Cornell


Photo: ©A.J. Alfaro

       The last song is, “Breaking Free.” A solid 4/4 tempo supports tight, two-part vocal harmonies. The sax is used in an answer/response to the vocal presentation. This composition makes a strong statement and features excellent lead guitar.


Joanne Lediger and Mike Quinn


Photo: ©A.J. Alfaro

       The New Romans have debuted their new album tonight at The B.B. King Blues club. Julie, our new friend and good friend of the band, said The New Romans are excellent and she is absolutely correct! I hope this new CD is a success for this very promising and talented musical group.

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Terry Reid

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A.J. Alfaro