Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Trent Romens -- "Aware"

Trent Romens is a 19-year old guitarist from Edina Minnesota. This is his debut album, but he has been playing blues guitar around Minnesota's Twin Cities since he was 13. From his website: "Trent's greatest influences are the artists that have proven their music to be timeless, and whose songs hold great weight: the lyrics of Bob Marley and Dylan, the improvisational spirit of the Grateful Dead, and the scorching guitar grooves of the The Allman Brothers Band. “I respect the music that has come before me. It’s through these influences that I’ve learned: what goes in comes out. I pour myself into my music, it’s who I am.”

The band includes Romens on vocals, guitar and co-producer, John Wright on bass and co-producer, Toby Marshall on Hammond B-3, Jordon Carlson on drums, Tony Paul on percussion and Cate Fierro and Shalo Lee on backing vocals. The ten selections on "Aware" include eight Trent Romens originals and two covers, St Louis Jimmy Oden's "Going Down Slow" and Big Bill Broozy & Charles Segar's "Key To The Highway," given an acoustic treatment. The songwriting on the originals is solid. There are no lyrics here that will remind you of Bob Marley or Bob Dylan, but the lyrics set things up for the vocals and guitar to take center stage, and Trent's singing is just fine--the key is his guitar work, which is quite impressive for someone of his youth. He plays fast and slow, loud and quiet, electric and acoustic, even a little bottleneck slide, and the playing is spot on. Romens shows a remarkable range and taste, a lot of promise. Highlights include the two covers and "Love's Lost Cause," which does show a lot of Allman Brothers influence, and "Right Back Where I Started" which sounds to me like it could be an early Sean Costello track. There's a lot of soul in both.

This cd is on New Folk Records, and you can buy it online at

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