A Bell I Gotta Ring

Artist: Dom De Luca

Produced by: Dom De Luca

Reviewed by Melissa Minners


            Since I started writing music reviews, Iíve received some rather interesting music out of Canada.  It all started with Nadjiwan and has only gotten better since.  The other day, I received an album from an artist I had never heard before with whom I later learned shared a link with me and the website.  That artist was Dom De Luca and the album was A Bell I Gotta Ring.

            A singer/songwriter hailing from Ontario, Canada, Dom De Luca cites Bob Dylan, Bruce Springsteen, Neil Young, Van Morrison and others as musical influences, but it was Townes Van Zandt who he credits for opening his eyes to the art of songwriting.  In 2008, Dom De Luca released a folk record entitled Birds of Worry.  The album received quite a bit of airplay and critical review, even landing him an invite to perform at the In the Dead of Winter Acoustic Festival in January 2009.

            His latest album, A Bell I Gotta Ring, took months of preparation at CBS Studios in downtown Toronto.  In addition to the vocals and acoustic guitar performed by De Luca, the album features quite a few recognizable musicians, including Monique Barry on piano, Phil Brown on harmony vocals, acoustic and electric guitars, Walter Maclean on drums and congas, David Matheson on shakers and tambourines, Donne Roberts on bass, acoustic and electric guitars and David Woodhead on mandolin.  All of these musicians have been on the scene for a while, but one in particular stood out for me - Marc Merilšinen performed both guitars and keyboards on this album.  Those of you who are familiar with the music I have reviewed on this site know that I have reviewed quite a few albums Marc has been a part of, thus explaining the link I and the site have with Dom De Luca.

            For the most part, the music on A Bell I Gotta Ring is folk-pop with the exception of Loviní You So, a reggae love song.  Dom De Lucaís lyrical style is to create a story, whether itís a folk tale about trying something new despite all of the warnings or a song about your own worst critic.  Each song contains a story and a catchy lyric that youíll find yourself singing along to. 

            My favorite song on the album just happens to be the title song, A Bell I Gotta Ring.  I could picture the village the boy in the song lives in and hear the warnings he is given every time he talks about ringing the bell at the top of the hill.  I could feel the powerful ache in the boyís heart as he decides to forego those warnings: ďI donít care / I donít care / Itís a bell I gotta ring. / Talk of danger and of other awful things. / I donít care / I donít care / Itís a bell I gotta ring.Ē  In trying something that everyone warned him against, the boy found a true and unique happiness.  This song is such an analogy to life as we know it and how overcoming fear and trepidation can lead us to our ultimate happiness if we just find a way to see our dreams through.

            The music on this album is very guitar driven and extremely professional in sound.  The time in prep and recording at CBS Studios was well spent.  The music offers up an extremely polished and well-put-together sound that isnít often found on the albums of independent artists.  I enjoyed the diversity of instruments and music used to set the moods of the songs - soft acoustic guitar and piano for ballads, electric guitars and bass for fun tracks, etc.

            The only unfortunate part of this album is the vocals.  Dom De Luca is an extremely talented lyricist, but his vocals are less than polished.  One can immediately see the Neil Young, Bob Dylan and Van Morrison influences here and perhaps that is the problem.  Sung in a different pitch, these songs would play way better than they do now.  The vocals are the only thing that are missing something on this album, not as noticeable in tracks like A Bell I Gotta Ring and Brother, Brother , but extremely notable when dealing with the ballads. 

            The music on the album, A Bell I Gotta Ring, is spot on and the lyrics are incredible, but the vocals leave much to be desired.  Based on the lyrics and music alone, this album will do well in the indie scene.  Sung by a more polished vocal artist, this album could do even better in the mainstream music industry.


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