Juliet & the Lonesome Romeos (review)

Juliet & the Lonesome Romeos – No Regrets (Tree O Records) review

On the front cover of her band’s debut album, No Regrets, Juliet Simmons Dinallo is leaning against a vintage gasoline pump, clad in a cowboy hat and denim jacket – signals of the no-frills rock & country blend that lies inside.  And, that’s probably the most satisfying thing about the record – it straddles the line between the two genres, leaning one way or another, depending on what the song needs.

The album opens with “No Regrets,” a midtempo goodbye song.  Juliet has a voice that can be both sweet and forceful.  At times, she sounds like a harder-edged Rosanne Cash.  There’s a longing sincerity that she imparts on “Song For You,” yet the very next track, she turns on the sass as she growls at “Narcissus.”  That song is a fine example what her backing band, the Lonesome Romeos, bring to the table – it’s their gritty, Heartbreakers-infused rock with a hint of Buck Owens sprinkled in, that really elevates the song to greatness.  These would be fine tracks in acoustic form, but the band gives them the kick that they need –  kinda like sprinkling some hot sauce on your favorite meal.

“Wishing Well” is the real standout – opening with a slinky guitar line grabbed right out of the Stax catalog, it’s a chronicle through the years of how a woman deals with a long lost love, with Juliet turning in a passionate vocal.

The jangling twelve-string guitar of “Last Kiss” has harmonies that sound like a twangier Bangles.  “Faded Highway” is a tear-in-your-beer country ballad, complete with pedal steel.  Another surprise is “September Day,” a song that deals with the Hurricane Katrina disaster and somehow manages to be both poignant and biting (toward politicians).

Between fine singing and gritty accompaniment, No Regrets is a fine debut for Juliet & the Lonesome Romeos.  –Tony Peters