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L.A. Beat

Mayes breaking hearts and taking names on Easter Monday

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I don’t know what is sexier about Winnipeg singer /songwriter Romi Mayes, the fact that she plays a jet black Gretsch which is almost bigger than she is and matches her long hair she was tossing back and forth, the sexy notes she plays on it or the fact that she can alternately croon and belt out blues with the best of them, or the fact that she cracks jokes on stage or the fact Romi Mayes cracks a joke during one of her songs. Photo by Richard Amerythat she doesn’t think she is sexy at all — or doesn’t seem to.

She played an Easter Monday show at Henotic for approximately 30 people, with her brand new band including  the Perpetrators’ Jason Nowicki, drummer Ryan Voth and bassist David Landreth. Thanks  to them and of course her natural talent, stage presence and charisma, she has finally found her sound. She has experimented with  bluegrass, country, alt-country and the blues before but comes into her own on stage as a blues woman.

She started with my absolute favourite Mayes song ‘ The Other Dame. You have to love a woman who can name drop Kerouac in the middle of one of her lyrics. She had a captivating stage presence. I couldn’t keep my eyes off of her as she alternately rocked the house and  crooned, eventually getting some dancers on the floor.
I especially enjoyed one she sent out to all the single guys called ‘Can’t Get You Off My Mind’ as well as her “aggressive sex song.”

She played one of her excellent bluegrass songs ‘Styx or BTO’ which was well done and gave the band a chance to show off some very cool vocal harmonies. She sang about falling in and out of love, not having love  in the first place, drinking whiskey and traveling.
 She poked fun at herself by playing  a mean, old song written about her by an ex in one of Nowicki’s old bands the Blues Puppies called ‘Femininity,’ which was well done. A couple of tracks of the new CD  including the title ‘Achin’ in Yer Bones’  and especially ‘Tire Marks’ were highlights as well.

 As a guitarist, Nowicki has a distinct , rough, raw  Hound Dog Taylor sound which means you always recognize  a Perpetrators’ song. That same sound translates  to Mayes’ band too, making it sound like a Mayes fronted Perpetrators. Her crack rhythm  section switched musical styles with her effortlessly throughout the show.
I’ve been following her for years and it continually boggles my mind that she isn’t huge throughout the world. Perhaps the new band will take her there. It definitely should.
Saskatchewan born, Calgary raised songwriter Matt Masters opened the show with a solo acoustic set which was excellent.

— by Richard Amery, L.A. Beat editor
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Last Updated ( Tuesday, 06 April 2010 09:28 )  
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