Mercy busts out 'Bad Habit'

There are a lot of blues-based rock bands out there jamming nightly in clubs and theaters throughout the United States. For most it takes a little something special to set their band apart from others. Mercy (featuring Lynda Morrison) has that little something.

Their recent release, “Bad Habit,” showcases several things, little elements that make the band’s collective groove a cut above the rest.

What hits the listener first is the powerful vocals of Morrison. A veteran of several blues-based bands since the 1980s, Morrison has paid her dues. And you can hear that in how she uses her voice. From whispered passages to feral yelps that would make Robert Plant blush, Morrison commands the listener’s attention from the first few seconds of the first track through closing moments of the end cut. An a cappella version of the standard “Motherless Child” leaves no doubt what a special gift she wields.

Every blues-based rock band needs a great guitarist to set the stage for everything else. Mercy has the talents of Dave Day. As with Morrison, Day has been performing in the Pacific Northwest for more than 30 years. In that time, he’s played with the likes of Dave Mason, Buckwheat Zydeco, Darrell Mansfield, Curtis Salgado, Robert Cray and many others. That tenure has developed his tone to the point where his guitar truly has a voice of its own. Whether carrying the melody, adding nuanced phrasing or full-on soloing, Day’s effortless playing is special.

And it certainly doesn’t hurt to have a special ringer in the band either. Hard rock/metal drummer Denny Carmassi, who has held the throne for Montrose, Sammy Hagar, Gamma, Heart, Whitesnake and Foreigner, decided that providing Mercy’s backbeat is the way he’d like to deal with retirement.

Most of the songs on “Bad Habit” are originals from the band members. As with the really special blues-based rock bands, Mercy writes about what life does to them. Songs like “Wish You Were Here” and “Bad Habit” take a lot of pain to produce, but make for immensely compelling songs. The final track, “I’m a Good Woman,” adds the proverbial exclamation point to the whole package — regardless of whatever life may throw her way, the woman survives.

Mercy featuring Lynda Morrison is based out of Central Point. Check them out (“Bad Habit” is available via Amazon, CDbaby, iTunes and through the band’s Facebook page) as to not keep them the Rogue Valley’s special little secret any longer.

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Johnny Vinyl is a music connoisseur. His column, Ride the vibe, focuses on entertainment. Contact him in c/o tmalgesini@eastoregonian.com.

 

***** by Easy Beat Shuffle Club

She has the best voice! I can't think of any vocalist I like better. She can belt an arc like Grace Slick. She can sooth with tender tones like Linda Ronstadt. She can rock like Janis.

Her acapella version of Motherless Child is a masterpiece.

The guitar work is hot. The drums are sharp. The first six songs showcase some great writing. Meet Me In The Moonlight should be a smash hit single. I keep humming these songs over and over.

Meet Me In The Moonlight