Love Potions and Snake Oil
Shut Up & Play
4 stars (out of 5)
By Donald Teplyske
An album with as many personalities as Love Potions and Snake Oil could be an uneven, discombobulated mess. So dynamic and focused is D. B. Rielly that this sparkling debut instead serves as a superior survey of Americana.
From zydeco and blues to southern swing and darkly-humored stalker ballads, Rielly wrings emotion from his squeezebox while singing sad songs that sound happy and then, just to change it up, a few that are even sadder. Obviously influenced by Zachary Richard, Rielly plays with words while keeping verses concise.
At a lively 3:46, “One of These Days (You’re Gonna Realize”) kicks off the album with a blazing interpretation of Lousiana-inspired dance music. Other songs, including “Don’t Give Up On Me” and “One Day at a Time,” come at devotion from a different direction utilizing country guitar sounds to propel relationship sagas.
“We’re All Going Straight to Hell” is a rewrite of “Rocky Top,” substituting damnation for moonshine. Elsewhere, “Save All Your Kisses” collapses from the mass of its confection, revealing the comparable strengths of the remaining material.
A highlight must be “I’ve Got a Girlfriend.” Disturbing in its buoyancy; a tale of abduction and dismemberment is lightened by a Cajun-beat that conjures Mary Chapin Carpenter-Beausoleil frivolity.
With a New York City zip code, Rielly sounds like he would be as comfortable on the bayou or in a holler. Soaked in traditions, his music is nothing but original; if Kieran Kane and Kevin Welch, The Gibson Brothers, Mike West, and Joe Whyte are on your shelves—or within your digital storage areas—I’m guessing D.B. Rielly’s Love Potions and Snake Oil will find a home with you.