Perhaps this string of numbers: 6 to 9, 7… 12, is, in-fact, meaningful in Providence, RI – everywhere aside from the ocean state sees it as plus three and a damn good recording. The Denver Boot is typically that thing they jam on your car tire when you stop paying your myriad parking tickets. Yeah, I know about them.
At first glance, Denver Boot is an odd amalgamation of characters, not to mention that the album is practically a different band. The one constant between live and studio Boot is band leader/song writer/general manager William “Billy” Moretti. William cuts a rockabilly stage presence with a softy crooner heart, he won’t tell you why he writes the songs, only where (in a garage, near water, behind the grocery store). Most of Billy’s music is sad – crestfallen tales of heartbreak and loss proliferate on stage despite his cheerful demeanor and the bands constantly shifting bluegrass gears.
The band I witnessed included (aside from Moretti on guitar) a great bearded man, John Frost on banjo, a violinist cum fiddler, Diane O’Connor, Amato Zinno, the upright bassist who also stood in with opening act, Vudu Sister, and Tony Nimmo on drums. Whereas the album contains Moretti playing guitar and banjo, John Viveiros on upright bass, Sean Brown on drums, Mike Samos on lap guitar, and Kim Petraca singing.
Quite the lineup swing.
Despite Frost (banjo) missing band practice the night before the show, the band performed beautifully on stage and hit each of the many tempo changes with swift precision.
The album is solid and I have been playing it on repeat since it was handed to me deep in the bowels of Club Passim. At times Im reminded of Hot Buttered Rum or Yonder Mountain String Band, at other times I think of Mason Jennings. No matter who you’ve heard in the past, it’s always nice to discover something new and DB manages to walk their own path, albeit a path that’s riddled with rapid-paced heartbreak.
Highly enjoyable, I recommend checking out their LP. If you happen across their 2010 EP, To The Point, let me know – I would love to hear it.
And here’s to hoping that the only Denver Boot in your future is playing high-steppin’ bluegrass.