Artist: The Dinallos
Album: The Dinallos
Label: Memphis International
Release Date: 3.26.2021
The Dinallos are a husband-and-wife team with two different musical backgrounds, Juliet Simmons Dinallo the acclaimed singer-songwriter and Michael Dinallo the guitarist and bandleader for the popular Boston-based rock ‘n’ roll band, The Radio Kings.
It was inevitable that the two would merge their individual talents into an album, especially after the success of Juliet’s 2018 Dream Girl, which Michael produced. This generous 16-track collection, at least half of which are highly impressive, was recorded both in their home state of Massachusetts and Tennessee and features plenty of Nashville’s well- known names such as Will Kimbrough (vocal duet on “Purgatory Road”), the three McCrary Sisters, Tim Carter (mandolin, banjo, co-producer), Dave Roe (electric bass), Dave Jacques (acoustic and electric bass), Tom Hambridge (drums), and Mike Daly (pedal steel), among several others.
All songs were penned by one or both Dinallos except a cover of Fleetwood Mac’s “Monday Morning.” While the album is mostly a charged capsule of bursting, unrelenting energy, they tease with the opening instrumental “All the Ponies Go ‘Round (Danny’s Lullaby)” featuring Michael’s tremolo guitar and Jim Gambino’s swirling B3. The lead single and album standout “Kilimanjaro” follows with Juliet’s soaring vocals backed by the McCrary Sisters with an infectious gospel chorus; the song delivers a lesson in letting go of a toxic relationship to seek newfound freedom.
The album is packed with strong songs as “When the World Was Mine.” Daughter Annabel Dinallo takes the vocal lead on the punchy, joyous “Lemonade,” punctuated by Michael’s bluesy guitar, before Juliet showcases her marvelous alto on the dreamy ballad “Time Machine” and “You Got Nothing on Me.“ The slow-waltzing “Fine Time of the Year” proves the couple can deliver with restrained beauty too, one of the best examples of Juliet’s lead and the McCrarys’ incomparable harmonies. Rock ‘n’ roll is front and center with Kimbrough duetting with Juliet on the ideal singalong, “Purgatory Road.”
The couple met at Boston’s esteemed Berklee School of Music. Juliet has two solo albums and Michael had cut three with the Radio Kings and is also acknowledged as producer, along with Ducky Carlisle, collectively as the Tremolo Twins, for Eddie Floyd’s return to Stax with Eddie Loves You So. Michael was at helm for the various artist tribute Feel Like Going Home: The Songs of Charlie Rich. While this album was primarily recorded in Nashville, the spirit of Memphis also pervades: the label is owned by Johnny Phillips and his son, respectively the nephew and grand-nephew of Sam Phillips. Johnny Rich signed Michael to his first record deal with The Radio Kings in 1994, and the two also worked together on the Charlie Rich tribute. This really is a “family” record.
With the talents of Michael’s production, writing, and guitar playing combined with Juliet’s lyrics and subtly powerful vocals, this was bound to be a strong effort, made even more potent by the high caliber of supporting musicians and vocalists. This is a keeper.
Memphis International Records
The lead off single from The Dinallos is Kilimanjaro, what’s glaringly obvious is the high end arrangement and production – I love a B3 Organ in a country song. The second thing you notice is the effective use of backing vocals combined with Juliet Dinallo’s vocals. The third thing I notice is, by the last chorus, I’m swaying from side to side – it’s catchy!
As you begin to warm to this husband and wife duo, they introduce their ten year old daughter during Lemonade. Her vocals are endearing yet quite mature for her age, she executes her performance so well, I’m keen to hear more (move over Mum, Annabel’s coming through!).
All joking aside, it’s clear music runs in the gene’s of The Dinallo’s. Now residing in the heart of music city they’re soaking up a lot of different influences. The record makes a departure from country music for the much darker, rock infused Private Hell which does feel slightly out of place as it’s dominated by electric guitars. The 16-track album feels almost like two eight-track albums stitched together with an instrumental break in the form of Eggemoggin Interlude.
It’s certainly a strong introduction to the family’s capabilities as musicians and songwriters. Their sound which, for the most part, leans towards the more traditional side of the genre is unique and yet refreshing to hear.
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Editor, Maverick Magazine
Tel: +44 (0) 1622 823920
ALBUM REVIEW- by Mike Greenblatt (8/11/20)
Singer/Songwriter Billy Prine says A Place I Used To Know (Memphis International Records) is “the record I’ve wanted to make for years.” (It’s been seven years since his last.) Featuring two songs by his older brother John Prine [1946-2020], this compact six-song EP, produced by guitarist Michael Dinallo, is a rough-hewn Americana gem: bluesy, honky-tonkin’, earthy, organic, honest and entertaining. Billy sings like his life depends upon it.
Anyone who knows the music of producer Dinallo (check out his Charlie Rich tribute album!) or his sweet-singing wife Juliet Simmons Dinallo (whom he also produces) knows that anything this dude touches is pure gold. Thus, Billy Prine gets a makeover like Waylon…and that’s a real good thing.