On Friday, March 4th thunderous roars could be heard throughout the streets of Somerville, while a thunderous voice shook a packed house inside Thunder Road, one of the area’s newest venues. The roars were from the appreciative crowd and the voice belonged to Massachusetts native, and Somerville resident, Julie Rhodes.
This was the record release show for Rhodes’ fantastic debut album, Bound to Meet the Devil, and the soulful singer brought her A-game to the stage, not that we expected anything less. The greater Boston area is chock full of talented musicians and it seemed as though they were all on stage this night to help bring the sounds of the album to life. You wanted to hear some horns? Check! How about some vicious harmonica? Check! How about red-hot guitar solos so fierce you thought your face was melting? Checkmate!
Rhodes’ music is a blend of all the best sounds and her vocal style is a blend of all the best musicians. Take a little Aretha Franklin, add a touch of Janis Joplin, mix together with Robert Plant and you get a unique creation that is all Julie. Speaking of Aretha, Rhodes and her amazing band blew the doors of the place with their rendition of “I Never Loved a Man the Way I Love You,” and I’m willing to bet if Ms. Franklin had been in attendance she would have shown a ton of R-E-S-P-E-C-T.
Sure there were some unbelievable covers. Etta James’ “I’d Rather Go Blind” was spellbinding, Bob Dylan’s “Gotta Serve Somebody” was smooth and funky, and Jimmy Reed’s “Big Boss Man” was blues-stomping fun. With that said however, it was the Rhodes’ own tunes that stole the show. I can’t think of any songs more perfect to be played live then the ones found on Bound to Meet The Devil. With her good friend and guitar shedder extraordinaire Jonah Tolchin by her side, Rhodes belted out one great number after the other. From the harmonica heavy “Holes,” to the soulful “Grinnin in Your Face,” to the brass-backed “Hurricane,” blowing through to the crowd favorite “In Your Garden,” this was Rhodes’ moment to shine. And lordy did she shine like the sun.
Along for the party were two phenomenal bands to kick the night off in rock n’ roll style. First up was Boston musician Abbie Barrett. The recent Boston Music Award Singer-Songwriter winner let loose with a fiery set of songs, including music from her newly released album That Shame, and got the hometown crowd moving and shaking. Providence’s purveyors of red hot rock n’ roll, The Silks, were up next and turned the dial to 11. The Rhode Island trio tore up that stage and let the southern blues blaze. Playing new material and songs off their debut album, “Last American Band,” the boys delivered a knock-out set.
Check out the amazing photos from the incredible evening taken by our very own Steve Benoit of Boston Concert Photography.