American Showplace Music
The latest release from Brandon Santini, The Longshot, is definitely anything but that. The eleven-track record features ten songs written or co-written by Santini plus one cover. There’s a healthy mix of roots rock and blues highlighting Santini’s versatility as a multi-faceted artist. Produced by Ben Elliott, John Ginty and Santini, it is the North Carolina native’s first record on American Showplace Music.
Opening with the hard-driving, rock-fueled “Don’t Come Around Here” (co-written with Joel DaSilva), Santini immediately sets the mood with his deep, rich vocals and fierce Chicago harp, while Ginty’s edgy keys are the perfect accompaniment. The backing vocals of Moe Watson and Samantha Bono add extra depth and flavor while Timo Arthur lays down the guitar grooves. Slowing it down with “Beggin’ Baby” (co-written with Victor Wainwright and Greg Gumpel), Santini continues to wow with tasty harp while Gumpel slays it with some major slide. “Drive You Off My Mind” truly makes you feel as if you are out on the open road for the ride while Santini moans and wails on his harp with Ginty’s subtle keys in the background.
Collaborating with Jeff Jensen and Bill Ruffino to write “Heartbreaker,” a song that kicks off with a “Crossroads”-type tempo, Santini once again shines on blues harp. “Broken Bones” slows things down with a roots/Americana sound and Santini literally wearing his heart on his sleeve. “Back To You” is another heavy-moving burner, smokin’ hot and coated in serious stank. Echoing with hints of The Smithereens’ “Blood and Roses,” “My Worried Mind” is another keen example of Santini’s outstanding writing skills. Jimmy Bennett lends a hand on guitar on “Going Home” with a killer harp solo from Santini. Tackling the only cover, Willie Dixon’s “Evil (Is Going On),” Santini bends and twists it into his own smoldering version that would have done Howlin’ Wolf proud. Rounding out the record with “Somebody’s Gotta Go,” Santini finishes on a strong note indeed.
There’s a reason Brandon Santini has numerous Blues award nominations. He is a bona fide bluesman who has proven himself time and again, and his new record is a worthy testament to a performer with true grit who can hold his own with the best of them.