By Doc Wendell
There’s no mistaking pure, untampered New Orleans music, whether it be jazz, blues, country, Zydeco, rock n’ roll and everything in between. Musicians from other places may try their asses off to get that feeling but there’s nothing like the real thing. Dave Jordan & The NIA ( The Neighborhood Improvement Association) serve up a heathy dose of no-nonsense blues, rock and country soul with their album “No Losers Tonight” which takes the listener straight to the heart of The Crescent City.
The Neighborhood Improvement Association is comprised of Dave Jordan, lead vocals, acoustic guitar, Mike Doussan, Electric and acoustic guitars, background vocals, Will Repholz, bass, Andre Bohren, drums, percussion and backing vocals, Chris Plyant, drums and Harry Hardin, violin with special guests Bill Malchow, piano, organ, Wurlizer, Joe Armitage, electric guitar, backing vocals, Gregory “Wolf” Hodges, electric guitar, Rurik Nunan, violin and Jake Eckert, Electric guitar, tambourine.
The album kicks off with a hard, rollicking up-tempo blues rocker “Southern Girl” as well as the Southern- fried title track “No Losers Tonight” and “Smoke.” Jordan’s rough, whiskey soaked vocals evoke emotions of both joy and sorrow and sets the tone for this album immediately. Mike Doussan’s guitar leads are stinging and masterful. Harry Hardin’s violin screams out passionately and doubles up the carefully crafted melody lines along with the guitars. Bill Malchow adds some tasty Wurlizer comping to “Southern Girl” and “Smoke.” The Rhythm section is tight and soulful.
“Come A Little Closer Babe” is one of the most sincerely beautiful ballads to surface in any genre of music in a long time. This is without a doubt a true album highlight. Jordan’s vocal performance will bring tears to your eyes and the band compliments his every nuance with a wonderful thematic sensibility. Bill Malchow’s piano dances lovingly around the hypnotic melody line.
“Pontchartrain” is a stellar blues ballad. Mike Doussan’s lead guitar is reminiscent of Carlos Santana and Eddie Hazel at their best. This is mournful music wrapped in love. Dave Jordan’s lyrics are poignant and poetic. He paints a vivid picture of time fading into the midst on Louisiana’s mighty Lake Pontchartrain. This song will get you missing Pontchartrain even if you’ve never been there. This is a majestic piece of Louisiana soul.
“This Time Around” and “Boot To Your Neck” kick down the door and rock hard. You can smell the stale beer and marijuana burning in the moist New Orleans air. “Once I Had A Lover” is a ballad that deals with pain, loss and self exploration. The song was written by Dave Jordan and Mike Doussan. Harry Hardin’s violin work fits the song like a glove.
Dave Jordan’s ballads just don’t let up. They tug at your heart and stay with you instantly and forever. “Baby I’m Gone” is no exception. Jordan isn’t afraid to take a hard look inward and show his vulnerability. Jordan’s and Doussan’s guitar work is tender and sublimely melodic as is Bill Malchow’s piano stylings.
The album closes with the haunting “Dreams So Real”, a blues-based minor key dirge that conjures up the mood of a long New Orleans daydream that you just can’t shake off easily.
Dave Jordan & The NIA’s – “No Losers Tonight” is New Orleans. This is “roots music” or “Americana” ( as they call it in the Northern cities) at its very best. I listen to so many artists release overproduced records trying to capture a sound that come to Dave Jordan & The NIA naturally. Jeff Watkins’ production is genuine and loving. Do not let this one pass you by.