“MICHELE D’AMOUR & the Love Dealers: Wiggle Room: Recording for her own label, this white girl with the blues shows she was inspired by the same red hot blues mommas as Bonnie Raitt but she doesn’t have label geeks showing up with notes telling her what to do which is probably why she won the John Lennon song competition last year. Walking through doors opened by Lavay Smith and others a few decades ago, this sexy, sassy set shows how to really get it done. Fun stuff that really delivers the goods.”
"Michele D’Amour and the Love Dealers are another in a string of award winning blues bands based in Seattle. Their three previous albums have all received international radio airplay, and this one will be no exception. It is already #1 on the RMR charts (four weeks and counting), and all 10 songs have charted. D’Amour also won the Grand Prize in the John Lennon Songwriting Competition for her song “Trouble,” as well as a nomination from the Washington Blues Society for Best Songwriter. The music is funky and smooth, with those amazing vocals of D’Amour leading the way. On the musician side, she gets some amazing help from Noel Barnes on sax, Patrick McDanel on bass and trombone, Jeff Cornell on electric and resonator guitar, Dave Delzotto on drums and Brian Olendorf on keys, as well as special appearances by Angelo Ortiz on congas and Greg Lyons on trumpet. Vocally she gets some great backing vocals from special guests Nora Michaels and John Oliver III. This album should be the crown jewel of your blues collection.
Recommendation: Don’t even think about it – you simply MUST add this one to your collection.
Get it now!" - LA Music Critic / Indie Voice Blog
"Michele D’Amour (pronounce it de-Moore) grew up in west Seattle, and was a child prodigy on piano by age six. She and her band, The Love Dealers, have just released their first album on Michele’s own BluesKitty label, “Wiggle Room,” ten originals (and two co-writes with guitarist Jeff Cornell and keys man Brian Olendorf), that showcase the reason she won a Grand Prize in the 2017 John Lennon Songwriting Competition.
Michele is a big-voiced, blues-beltin’ chanteuse, who’s equally comfortable with a torch song as she is with straight blues and even protest songs, of which there are a couple of brilliant ones herein. She’s expanded the fullness of the sound of The Love Dealers, adding four new members, and everything comes together quite swimmingly.
Michele gets into the “swing” of things with the stop-time swagger of that “Sweet Lovin’ Man to come home to every night!” Gotta love Noel Barnes on that sax solo, too! The title cut is a sweet shot of “last call” jazz, with our heroine lookin’ for a lover to “send me to the moon, with a little bit of Wiggle Room!” And, all you back-door-creepin’ lotharios better heed Michele’s advice, set over a cool, Seventies’ wah-wah-fired arrangement, “watch out for the bees, when you got Honey On The Side.”
Our favorites came in the form of two songs that tell a sad tale of the current state of much of today’s society. Over the Chet Baker-ish trumpet of Greg Lyons, Michele tells the story of the plight of the nation’s homeless, “Nothing To No One, of no consequence.” Nothing, however, compares to the powerful “Hard Times,” detailing the senseless violence in Charleston, SC, as well as what seems to be a daily occurrence somewhere in the world.
Michele D’Amour’s desire was to create a set that uses music to help us celebrate good times and cope with life’s struggles. This one has “Wiggle Room” to spare, and spreads a positive message to all blues fans! Until next time…Sheryl and Don Crow, The Nashville Blues Society."
"Although "Wiggle Room" is the fourth release for Michele D'Amour & The Love Dealers, there are several "firsts' that come into play with the project. The album happens to be her first release on her very own Blueskitty Records - and it's also her first release with her new band.
Joining Michele D'Amour McDanel, on lead and backing vocals, are: hubby Patrick McDanel - the only remaining Love Dealer from past releases - on electric bass, electric upright bass and trombone; Jeff Cornell on electric, acoustic and resonator guitars; Dave Delzotto on drums; Brian Olendorf on keyboards; and Noel Barnes on tenor and baritone saxes. Other special guest musicians include: Nora Michaels and John Oliver III on backing vocals; Angelo Ortiz on congas; and Greg Lyons on trumpet.
Having heard all of her previous releases, it's my opinion that the changes Michele made were indeed made for the best because hands down, "Wiggle Room" is the best of the bunch. The disc contains ten, all original tracks.
So with so many songs that use those all too common terms such as loser, cheater, liar, drunk, rotten, abusive, dirty dog, etc, to describe men, it's refreshing to hear one being sung about a "Sweet Lovin' Man". The only problem is that Michele had to go through most of the others prior to finding that sweet lovin' man to come home to every night. Michele and Nora's lead and back up vocals are smooth and sassy, Patrick and Dave have the rhythm right in the pocket and Noel's tenor sax leads are absolutely splendid.
Have you ever thought that one day you might be homeless? Probably not! Although most of us dread the thought of contacting cancer; having a heart attack or even passing a kidney stone (yikes!), most of us don't think we'll ever be homeless - and yet so many unfortunate people are. Just imagine, as Michele has done, that you are:
"Nothing to no one, of no consequence,
his heart's overdrawn, his life makes no sense.
Stands on the corner, holding a sign,
pretend you don't see, pay him no mind.
And nothing to no one, it's dark and it's cold,
the streets are no place to be growing old
He aches all over, keeps moving somehow,
lost and forgotten, no place for him now."
Imagine that - being and meaning "Nothing To No One". Kinda makes you think about those times - as I've admittedly done - pretended I didn't see him and I paid him no mind. Patrick's deep bass lines, Greg's muffling trumpet and Brian's hushed piano leads eerily take you for a walk down a dark alley - a place this unfortunate person most likely calls home.
"Let It Slide" has so much going on it may very well be the disc's best track. The thirty second intro featured such an intense rhythm and percussion thing that I was actually looking forward to it being an instrumental. In that short a time I was just blown away by the hypnotic vibe being laid down by Angelo (congas), Brian (organ), Dave (drums) and Patrick (bass). Then Michele starts singing with this absolutely beautiful, powerful yet soft, note holding voice that instantly commanded my attention......that is until Jeff jumped in with his crazy good guitar licks. Take it from the Blewzzman, if you want to zone out for awhile, put on your headphones, turn the volume up a bit and play this one 4-5 times. Right about here kudos to the disc's producer - Mark Riley - and engineer - Steve Feasley - are in order. You guys earned your fee on this one alone.
On this particular track Michele laments over the useless efforts she puts herself through in her attempts to prove herself "Worthy" to a loser who's not at all worthy of the effort. It is another of the many well written tracks in which she makes strong statements and sends out strong messages. If slow, sultry sax leads perk your ears, midway through this one Noel's got a real nice treat for you.
With a title like "Hard Times", you'd like to think that this was a song about the great depression or some other event you'd like to forget about from the long ago past. In reality, what's greatly depressing is that story the song is telling is taking place right now. It's more about humanitarianism...or lack of it...than it is about politics - but we all know how fine than line is. Michele's heartfelt lead vocals, along with John's soulful back ups as well, do a fabulous job of putting intense feelings into the songs powerful lyrics. Musically, the dark rhythm, the somber sax tones and the solemn keyboard chords perfectly set the tracks melancholy mood.
Other tracks on "Wiggle Room" include: "Falling Down", "Wiggle Room", "Honey On The Side", "Been So Long" and "He Can't Be Wrong".
Between putting her new and best band together, putting out her best work yet and putting it in the hands of one of the best publicists in the genre, Michele D'amour & The Love Dealers have now got it all going on.
To find out more Michele D'Amour And The Love Dealers go towww.micheledamourandthelovedealers.com or just search her on Facebook. If you've not yet received a copy of "Wiggle Room" for airplay, please contact Betsie Brown at www.blindraccoon.com. Whomever you contact, please make sure you tell them the Blewzzman sent you." - Peter "Blewzzman" Lauro, Mary4Music
A pianist and also a singer since she was a child, Michele D'Amour is one of the rising artists of the American Blues scene, having won the John Lennon Songwriting Competition's Grand Prix in 2017 and receiving three nominations at the Washington Blues Society Awards. in 2018, the singer and her band come back with a new album, the fourth one, with which they intend to confirm the good reception that they know with the media but also the public. Accompanied by Jeff Cornell on guitars, Patrick McDanel on bass, Dave Delzotto on drums, Brian Olendorf on keyboards and Noel Bornes on saxophones, backed up by brass, chorus and percussion, Michele D'Amour will focus on making us to penetrate into an album for which she chose to make a not insignificant use of shades coming from jazz but also from soul and swing. In a dozen tracks, the singer will strive to surprise us with music that is both sincere and luxurious, compositions that lead us to the most intimate New York clubs and who occasionally know tinged with Latin touches , rock or even gospel. Sometimes surprised, always seduced the listener will be carried away by pieces that borrowed from all that America counts of sounds and it is from a "Sweet Lovin Man" to a "Honey On The Side", a "Nothing To No One" to a "Been So Long" or a "Let It Slide" to a "He Can not Be Wrong" he will end up playing the game of an artist who knows how to handle his voice with a lot of talant to make it captivating. And always these melodies that rely on a guitar full of charm and parts of saxophone to give you the thrill ... Jazz lovers will feast but fade blues should not be left out.
Zicazic (France) 9/13/18
"There is nothing like a good solid blues rhythm coupled with an amazing female voice that understands the true sound of the blues. Michele D’Amour and the Love Dealers have definitely learned those lessons, and turn in a worthy performance on this set of solid tunes that should be a case study for anyone interested in studying the art of the blues. They understand that there are different grooves for great blues music, and they have mastered all of those styles on this album. From the upbeat style of “No Good” to the slow sexy groove of “Trouble” and “All I do is Work” to the funky sound of “Leopard Lounge,” this band brings us some of the best blues we have heard this year. This is a band that should be the house band for any television show that features the blues, as they bring an authenticity to their sound not normally heard by today’s modern blues bands. Besides the aforementioned songs, we were also digging the sound of “Move on Down the Line,” “When the Blues Come Calling,” and “What the Cat Dragged In.”
Recommendation: If you love the blues, you will love this album. We strongly urge you to Get it."
LA Music Critic, 9/20/2017
"Michele D’Amour grew up in West Seattle and from an early age found her future in music. At the age of six she was already quite skilled at both playing Piano and Singing, performing in her church choir. Michele also enjoyed writing from an early age and became a published poet in her late teens. Later, Michele earned her chops singing with several different local bands and writing her own music.
Looking at each of the individuals in this wonderful group, it is easy to see that the natural chemistry and the enormous talent that make Michele D’Amour and the Love Dealers and their music phenomenal. Ronnie Bishop, the band’s Drummer, most recently known for his work with Michael Powers. Bishop has an impressive history of working with jazz and blues artists in the Seattle area and beyond. The Bands Bassist, Patrick McDanel started his music career as a professional trombone player before switching to bass. He has toured nationally and internationally with various bands. Ryan Higgins began playing the guitar at an early age and studied music theory in college. Today, he’s an accomplished singer, songwriter, and guitar slinger who brings his own twist to covers and enriches the original tunes.
Michele D’Amour and the Love Dealers have released three CDs: Sin Comin’ On, in February 2014, with three original songs penned by Michele; Ante Up, comprised of ten originals written by Michele, in March 2015; and Lost Nights at the Leopard Lounge, in June 2017. The band enjoys performing for and interacting with audiences of all ages.
Michele D’Amour and the Love Dealers’ third album is a celebration of the band’s fifth anniversary with a new crop of originals. The band worked with Grammy-winning engineer Steve Feasley on the recording. Lost Nights at the Leopard Lounge is a compilation of stories rooted in real life experiences and expressed through the blues tradition. “I am an avid collector of characters and stories,” says D’Amour. She also co-wrote two tracks, I Didn’t Know and Last Man Standing, with Cory Wilds.
The song Leopard Lounge evolved from the band swapping anecdotes about colorful venues they’ve played and people they’ve seen; manifested in a fictional club that artist Tim Sutherland depicted in the album art.
This album has the standard course of Blues ideology, but is far from “predictable” or “simple” the music has a natural flow and lyrically, Michele D’Amour is singing from the depths of her heart, a heart that knows both tribulation and triumph, the darkness that is loneliness and the glorious light of love.
Other songs explore love gone wrong: Trouble; No Good; What the Cat Dragged In; and the anthem Last Man Standing. Move on Down the Line discusses when it’s time to get out of a bad situation; All I Do IsWork and Blue as Blue Can Get are songs for the downtrodden.
In this Video for “Lost My Mojo” and Michele D’Amour describes, in her own words, the meaning behind the song.
“Lost My Mojo “is my take on being a ‘woman of a certain age,’ laughs D’Amour.”
“I Didn’t Know tackles the feeling of being disillusioned with the music scene, while When the Blues Come Calling is a light- hearted exploration of what it might be like if “the blues” behaved like a pesky house guest. Black Cat Boogie was originally written for children when the band played a series of summer family events, and has since been embraced by cat aficionados.”
While researching this article, I found that throughout, Patrick McDanel on bass (Red Hot Blues Sisters), with the band since its inception; and with new addition Ronnie Bishop on drums (Michael Powers) they provide the band’s signature groove-oriented sound. Ryan Higgins joined as the band’s guitarist in fall 2016 and developed the signature licks for many of the tunes. McDanel and Higgins also contribute horn parts to two of the songs, and it wails sounds from soft and subtle to sexy and wild. Least we not forget, a singer that is as lovely as her voice, Michele D’Amour, whom brings it all together, and leaves us wanting more.
There are bands that work well together, and some that work great together, Michele D’Amour and the Love Dealers work magic together. Check out their website and follow them on social media."
Indie Pulse Music, 8/27/17
"The Seattle-based ensemble Michele D’Amour and the Love Dealers have been on the scene since 2011, and have played numerous festivals and club dates all over the West Coast and were Washington Blues Society finalists for the 2014 I.B.C. Lead singer/songwriter D’Amour has been singing and writing songs since she was knee high to a grasshopper, and her bandmates (guitarist Ryan Higgins, bassist/trombonist Patrick McDanel, and drummers Ronnie Bishop and Rick Bowen) all boast impressive musical resumés themselves.
Lost Nights at the Leopard Lounge is the band’s third release and it consists of 12 tracks, all written or co-written by D’Amour, that focus on contemporary blues, blues-rock, and R&B. Beginning with the crisp uptempo shuffle, “No Good,” the group ventures into smoky blues ballad territory with “Trouble,” which showcases some fluid, T-Bone-like fretwork from Higgins. “Leopard Lounge” is a funky rocker about a fictional club that encompasses stories the band shared from their experiences at various venues.
“Move on Down the Line” keeps up the funk, with some sharp work on the bass from McDanel, but the band really outdoes itself on the funk with “Lost My Mojo,” D’Amour’s frank look at approaching middle age (McDaniel and Higgins double up on trombone and trumpet, respectively). “All I Do Is Work” is another slow blues with a hint of gospel thrown in for good measure, and “When the Blues Come Calling” is a strong R&B track.
“I Didn’t Know,” “What the Cat Dragged In,” and “Last Man Standing” are straight-forward blues rockers, the latter with a bit of a southern rock feel, while “Blue as Blue Can Get” has a jazzy noir feel. The bonus track that closes the disc is the lighthearted shuffle “Black Cat Boogie.” This song was originally written when the band played a series of family-oriented summer events and has since become a fan favorite.
Lost Nights at the Leopard Lounge is an entertaining disc of engaging songs and excellent performances that should appeal to any fans of contemporary blues with its mix of blues, R&B, rock and funk. Be sure to check out Michele D’Amour and the Love Dealers, should you venture to the upper West Coast and need to satisfy your blues fix." Graham Clark, BluesBytes, 8/25/17
"For every band that headlines Lollapalooza, Burning Man or Coachella, there's more relegated to the side stages and tents. And for every festival, there are those groups that might make mention on the bill, plus those just working to get that kind of notice.
The hardworking band is the one that plays the bars, vineyards, breweries and outdoor events, and its members aren't afraid to show up at open mics or jam sessions, despite lack of pay. That sometimes is how bands get made.
Such a lineup comes out of the Seattle area, where Michele D'amour and the Love Dealers are to be found. Formed in 2011, they came about through those impromptu plays. "At the time," D'amour recalls, "I was singing in local blues jams, and the Seattle area has a plethora of those. My friend Rick Bowen approached me after getting to know me and said, 'You know, you should really have your own band.' To which I responded, 'Okay, but you have to be the drummer.'"
D'amour then recruited Patrick McDanel to play bass, "because I knew that he worked well with Rick, and the two would lock in together really well, and that Patrick would bring that funkiness that I wanted for the sound."
Sin Comin' On was the band's debut in 2014, followed by 2015's Ante Up. The Love Dealers have returned in 2017 with Lost Nights at the Leopard Lounge. From the start of "No Good," there is a serious groove, with roots in the blues and R&B. Ryan Higgins' lead guitar is stinging and distinctive, and the foursome cooks through D'amour originals that include "Lost My Mojo" and "Last Man Standing." Ronnie Bishop has replaced Bowen full time on drums, (Bowen did play on several of the tracks) and the reception has gone beyond the Pacific Northwest.
"It has just amazed us all," D'amour says. "I'll buy a CD, and typically I like maybe three tracks from it, or maybe five. Our past CDs we would get airplay for a few of the tunes; all twelve of the songs from Lost Nights... are getting airplay, both terrestrial or Internet Radio, including Sirius/XM's Bluesville."
And what of that title? "I liked the alliteration in the name Leopard Lounge," D'amour replies. "There are some Leopard Lounges throughout the world, certainly in the US. Where that song came from was, the band sort of swapping stories about some of the more colorful places we've played, the kinds of venues that have a storied past: where perhaps the venue a hundred or more years ago was a brothel, and then maybe it was a jail at one point, a dancehall, a disco in the seventies. And then you go to these places and kind of see that history, and the clientele have that kind of checkered past as well, and it's fascinating people watching. And so, we started swapping stories--every character, the pool shark, the mobster, those are characters we've encountered at least once, probably more than once. The stories in that song are all real, but we combined them into this once fictitious place.”
When looking back at the previous recordings, D'amour considers the growth with Leopard Lounge. "I would say the songwriting is stronger," she says, "and this particular incarnation of the band I am really enjoying working with. I've always approached by band as being like family; so, we start off when we're going to rehearse with dinner, and then we rehearse or work on new material, and I just think the camaraderie between the members of the band is really coming through."
Seattle's rich musical history is also noted. "People like Jimi Hendrix came from Seattle," D'amour reminds us, "and there is a very lively blues scene. Quincy Jones is also a Seattleite. Just about any weeknight you can find a jam within about a half an hour of where you live, probably more than one.
'You get such great experience working with all sorts of different people, levels of musicianship. It's great training, especially for a bandleader to really own that song, count it off and know what key it's in, and be able to describe to the bass player and drummer what the groove is."
D'amour's own musical background was rooted deep in her family, and encouraged. "My dad was an incredible fan of all kinds of music," remembers. "He had an extensive and eclectic collection, and I do mean vinyl. Everything from jazz, blues, reggae, the Rat Pack, show tunes, and he also liked some country; he liked Roger Miller and Willie Nelson. Those latter two are excellent lyricists, and so I was exposed to that."
Then there was telling moment when Michele's parents had to know what they had on their hands: "Family legend has it when I was about five, five and a half," D'amour recalls with humor, "I hopped up at the piano bench and started playing the theme song from 'All in the Family' by ear."
'Sometime later when I was about six I was very upset with my mother, I remember going to my room, tearing off a piece of drawing paper grabbing a purple colored drawing pencil and writing a song called my mom is so mean, and it went a little like 'Mannish Boy...'"
D'amour sings for me a part of it with laughter to follow. "We sometimes perform a snippet of that," she says. "I used to get in trouble with my mother for singing songs at an early age that she thought were inappropriate, but she would be amused at the same time."
Writing of songs took "a left turn," as D'amour continued, into poetry. She studied under Nelson Bentley, who taught at the University of Washington in Seattle, (his works includeThe Flying Oyster: The Collected Comic Apocalypses, Bellowing Ark Press).
"He (Bentley) valued being a teacher more than anything," D'amour recalled, "and was so nurturing. (He) taught about imagery, and making the story come alive, but also writing with meter."
'I was a published poet when I was in college," D'amour continued, "but once I turned to writing songs, the discipline was there. I've gotten more adventurous in terms of mixing up rhythms, and just getting a little bit more experimental while being firmly rooted in the blues tradition."
D'amour has also paid attention to other writers, those from her past and present. "I loved Roger Miller and his sense of lyrics," D'amour says, "and even when he is writing something incredibly sad, there's a sense of humor to it. I grew up with a lot of that, and I will chuckle over a good lyric. I am enjoying Jason Ricci's CD right now, and some of the stuff he's doing is cracking me up!"
When it comes to new generations of artists carrying the battle flag for the blues, D'amour sees the changes, but these are not just in personnel and the age of those playing it. "I think I'm too old to be in the new generation," she says with a laugh. "I do see some amazing players in their twenties and thirties who are picking up the blues. It isn't easy to be a full-time musician; I have a day job, but it affords me a lot of flexibility."
D'amour see another issue, and it is partly economics: "I think this affects all genres right now," she says, "but what happens is, you've got these bars, and they want to have live music. So they get these bands comprised of people who work at a software company or whatever the big employer is regionally, and those guys want to play rock star for the night. Their day job is funding their work, they equipment, and so they'll play for nothing or for very little. The bar owner doesn't necessarily have enough discernment to tell between professionals and somebody who is dabbling. They'd rather book that band they don't have to pay. And when a professional band comes in, there's sticker shock. The other advantage, of course, is that, if you have a day job, you have coworkers and friends that will find it amusing to go out to see you play rock star. A lot of my friends are musicians, so they have their own gigs, and there's only so many gigs my family will come to because they do other things to do as well, so you have to work on building a following. That's tough to do; you have to find your niche, your people who get what you are trying to do."
As for the future of the music, D'amour touches on how the blues especially has changed, but she does not think it's all bad. "I see it more as just that there's such a richness to the blues," she explains. "Blues-rock, soul blues, and years ago it would have been Chicago blues, Memphis blues, Piedmont, and now people stratify it even more. Then there are the blues purists who say blues-rock isn't blues. There are certain artists that people absolutely will not play who are more in the blues-rock genre. We get stratified typically into contemporary blues which I take to mean and this is based on what I've read, that it means that we are pushing the genre a bit, we are incorporating other elements perhaps from jazz, which is certainly the case for us, or rock into the blues, but it's still very much in the tradition."
This, D'amour believes, with a firmness as solid as her experience: "I don't see any other genre that does not progress. Jazz progresses, hip-hop progresses, rock progresses, why shouldn't blues as well...if we were all playing stuff that sounds like Muddy Waters or like Howlin' Wolf's written it, what would be the point?"
(The Love Dealers are on the road this fall, hitting familiar Seattle-area haunts in Olympia, Everett, and Townsend. They're also making inroads into California, with a string of shows through September, and will be in Oldtown, Idaho in late October.) " Tory Gates, Broadwayworld.com 8/23/17
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------Lost Nights at the Leopard Lounge
"Michele D’Amour and the Love Dealers is not one of the ordinary blues bands that is content with playing cover tunes at local clubs. In fact, after only a few years together they have played at many festivals, and they have already produced three albums. With each release they have included more of their own tunes, and this time all twelve tracks are originals. This year’s catalog addition, Lost Nights at the Leopard Lounge, is their best work so far.
Ms. D’Amour, has been working towards this career for her entire life in her hometown of Seattle: she got a head start as a 6 year old piano prodigy, and Michele started singing at church and writing early too. This led to her fronting several local bands with plenty of opportunities to write and perform her own material. Five years ago she started the Love Dealers with bassist Patrick McDanel, and this was a fine start to building a solid team.
For Lost Nights at the Leopard Lounge, Michele wrote all of these songs, with collaborative credit going to Cory Wilds for two of the tracks. She also handled the lead vocals, and joining her in the studio were McDanel on bass and newcomer Ryan Higgins on guitar; drumming duties were split between Ronnie Bishop and Rick Bowen. Grammy-winner Steve Feasley of Love Studios engineered the studio sessions, which took place in Seattle and Snohomish, Washington.
There are a few Leopard Lounges around the country, but this album is not really referring to any of them. Rather, it is an imaginary amalgam of the cool clubs that the band has played in over the years. This makes an appropriate setting for the stories that are told through the songs, as many of them are based on experiences that the band has lived through. This is heard right from the start of the set, as the uptempo shuffle, “No Good,” lays down the details of a man who should have been born with “a pair of horns.” On this track Michele’s hearty alto voice is well suited to this guitar-fueled romp that features the tight backline of McDanel and Bishop.
After the opener, the band switches things up for each subsequent track. “Trouble” is a slow blues tune with a personal feel that describes the effects of family-wrecking character, and Higgins delivers great lead guitar work that is almost jazz-like, accompanied by unique backing vocals that help make the mood. You will also find terrific imagery in the title track, as there are aspects of many bars in the “Leopard Lounge.” As you hear the band rock out and Michele sing about having to pay cash at the bar for your beer, you can also smell the bleach and sawdust!
The Love Dealers also do a respectable job with funk, as McDanel lays down a raunchy and distorted bass line for “Lost My Mojo.” He also picks up his trombone as Higgins brings his trumpet to this song, which is an unexpected bit of texture that really makes this track shine. The band also combines funk with rock for “What the Cat Dragged In,” an ode to a man whose life is a complete mess. This tune changes tempo and feel a few times, and these breaks set the stage for some decidedly tasty guitar solo work from Bishop; this ends up being one of the more memorable tracks on the album. Then, before you know it, the set finishes up with one last shuffle, Black Cat Boogie,” and it is hard to believe that 43 minutes have gone by!
Lost Nights at the Leopard Lounge is a strong album with good songs, talented musicians, and fabulous production from Steve Feasley. The songs have a clear and well-balanced sound, and though they cross many blues genres they work very well together. This material will transfer well to their live show, so be sure to head over to their website to see where Michele D’Amour and the Love Dealers are playing next. If you are located anywhere from the Pacific Northwest to Central California you are in luck, as they have plenty of shows scheduled, so check them out if you get the chance!"
Reviewer Rex Bartholomew is a Los Angeles-based writer and musician; his blog can be found at rexbass.blogspot.com.
"Based out of Seattle, WA, Michele D’Amour and her band, The Love Dealers, have just released a stellar mix of twelve band originals that cover a wide array of varying shades of blues. “Lost Nights At The Leopard Lounge” has elements of Chicago blues, sophisticated jazz-tinged blues, boogie-woogie, and even some Southern-styled blues-rock.
Michele has a soul-packed voice that can belt out a blueser or wrap itself around a ballad. She’s joined by those Love Dealers–Patrick McDanel on bass and trombone, Ryan Higgins on guitar and trumpet, and drummers Ronnie Bishop and Rick Bowen.
The festivities get off to a kick-@@@ start with a shufflin’ uptempo boogie about a lover who should have been born “with a pair of horns,” and is sho’ nuff “No Good.” Funky bass lines and Ryan’s wah-wah action drives the story of knowin’ when to hold and when to fold when a love goes bad, “Move On Down The Line.” Things take a jazzy turn with the tale of a woman who’s “Blue As Blue Can Get,” but Michele offers up a shot of redemption by encouraging us all to, “When The Blues Come Calling,” “be sure to invite them in and ask them to play,” for “it’s not the end of the world.”
We had three favorites, too. The set closes with a song that had its origins as a children’s song, but soon became a crowd favorite, as the “tail” of a house full of six black cats is the rockin’ good time of “Black Cat Boogie.” Michele takes a look at trying to get one’s groove back with “Lost My Mojo,” and finds the best cure is to go see the neighborhood Hoodoo Man!” And, the title cut is based on stories of places the band has played in or been exposed to, and “down at the Leopard Lounge, anything is for sale.”
Michele D’Amour And The Love Dealers have played festival stages all over the Northwest, and they keep the good times rollin’ with the fine grooves you can only find at the “Lost Nights At The Leopard Lounge!” Until next time…Sheryl and Don Crow, The Nashville Blues Society."
7/12/2017 Don and Sheryl's Blues Blog
"Seattle based Michele D’Amour And The Love Dealers burst on the blues scene back in 2011 and since that time they have been blowing away audiences throughout The Evergreen State and beyond. They have released EPs and full albums and built up a loyal fan base across the country.
It’s obvious that they love the blues, hell, D’Amour wrote her first blues song when she was six years young and has been working on improving her writing and developing her vocals ever since. And don’t expect Michele and the Boys to get into one groove and stay there for an entire show, or even album. No, they like to mix things up a little, sampling different blues styles with equal expertise, and you’re going to enjoy them all.
D’Amour is a prolific songwriter and wrote ten of the twelve tracks solo, and the remaining two, she co-wrote with Cory Wilds. She also handled all of the lead vocals and some of the backing vocals. She is joined by Patrick McDanel on bass, trombone, and backing vocals; Ryan Higgins on guitar and trumpet; and Ronnie Bishop on drums for five tracks, and Rick Bowen on drums for the remaining seven tracks.
The album swings into action with the opening number, No Good. D’Amour has a good voice, she’s only using a slight edge on this number, but when she holds a note, watch out, she’s got some power. This is a promising start and I think this album just might turn out to be a good one.
The follow up song, Trouble, is a slower number and D’Amour is in fine voice. She blends her blues with a jazz vibe and sounds amazing. I would love to see them play this one live as she opens up and you can really feel her emotions delivered in every note.
The sort of title track, Leopard Lounge, is next. It’s a wild number and anyone who has been a working musician has played in clubs like this. D’Amour adds a nice touch of humor to the song and Higgins gets his guitar singing on the break. This is a fun song.
After that foray into the world of wild clubs, D’Amour and the boys have some fun with the funky blues tune, Move On Down The Line. She has a cool edge on her voice for this song and this would be perfectly at home as a STAX song from the early ‘70’s. Blues purists may not gravitate to it right away, but I really like it a lot.
The rhythm section gets a real workout on Lost My Mojo. This is the kind of song that is almost guaranteed to get an audience up on its feet and out on the dance floor. While some folks might not rush to put that on their playlist, it’s a cool song and it gives you a hint at the high energy performance that will be waiting for you when you catch the band live.
While I think the title of the next song, All I Do Is Work, is a perfect description, my wife would surely disagree. This is a slow, smoldering number that really shows D’Amour’s vocal strength. I’m pretty sure I’ll be spinning this one on Time For The Blues before long.
Things get swinging and funky on When The Blues Come Calling. Bowen does some great percussion on the song, it almost seems like he’s drumming with three hands at times. Higgins has a great guitar lead and the lyrics are tight. It’s a quick song and a strong one as well.
I Didn’t Know starts out with a large sound, it’s almost like they aren’t a four-piece band at this point, but it’s because of D’Amour’s great voice and some serious tight bass lines from McDanel. The band is rocking hard on this number and firing on all cylinders.
D’Amour and The Love Dealers get silky smooth for Blue As Blue Can Get. She borders on the jazzy chanteuse and this just might be my favorite song on the album. Her lyrics are solid, the guitar break exceptional, and the overall mood is one of quiet resignation. Love this tune.
She gets back to rocking on What The Cat Dragged In. Her lyrics are pure blues, and her delivery is on point. It’s a cool number. She follows up with a psychedelic blues tune, Last Man Standing, that smokes and sounds like some of the great ‘60’s numbers that first experimented with the combining of the two genres.
You might think that’s the end of the album, but the band has one more up their sleeve withBlack Cat Boogie. They show they’ve got some serious jazz combo chops. This has got to be a signature song for them, they do it so well.
Michele D’Amour And The Love Dealers have got a sweet sound. Scratch that, they have several sweet sounds. They can rock with the best of them and then turn around with a lovely jazz sound, then get funky and lay down some tight dance tunes. I have the feeling that they can handle even more styles, but they still have the blues at their roots.
I don’t know how much they travel outside of Seattle or The Pacific Northwest, but if they come anywhere near you, be sure to check them out. You can find Lost Nights At The Leopard Lounge at the usual sites, as well as their website,https://www.micheledamourandthelovedealers.com/, where you can also check out their travel itinerary."
- Professor Johnny P's Juke Joint, 07/02/17
"Led by the Seattle-based singer/ songwriter Michele D’Amour, this outfit has here a very fine blues set, their third album. Right from the excellent opener, the up tempo shuffle of ‘No Good’, the songs are all originals, intelligent and interesting, well sung by Michele whose voice is flexible and convincing, ranging from the strong slow blues of ‘Trouble’ to the ever-so slightly pop tinged ‘When The Blues Come Calling’.
The Love Dealers themselves are a very tight three piece, with a rhythm section of Patrick McDanel on bass and Michael Powers drummer Ronnie Bishop powering things along, or coming over a little Latin-ish on ‘Blue As Blue Can Get’.
Guitarist Ryan Higgins only joined the band in 2016 but he has a distinctive tone and approach, though firmly in the tradition. With the exception of his playing on the southern rock styled ‘Last Man Standing’ there is little rock or blues-rock influence, though he does employ a tough edge when necessary. His playing is always concise and relevant – listen to his delicate T-Bone Walker inflected solo on ‘Trouble’ for a good example. He and Patrick also supply the horn parts on two numbers.
A band to watch out for, certainly on this evidence." - Norman Darwen, Blues in the NW 06/06/17
Michele D'Amour and the Love Dealers' new release, 'Lost Nights at the Leopard Lounge,' is a soulful throwback to Chicago blues and the juke joints of the Mississippi Delta. D'Amour's voice can best be related to Bonnie Raitt, but there is a little Marcia Ball in her tone and the Love Dealers' expertly mixed blues soul and funk to give the new songs a little something extra for the listener.
- Troy Michael, Innocent Words, 5/15/17
"MICHELE D'AMOUR & the Love Dealers/Lost Nights at the Leopard Lounge: A white girl from Seattle that somehow has become possessed by Koko Taylor, D'Amour keeps it tight and hard hitting whether she lays back or kicks ass. A solid crew that knows their way around modern electric and rocked up blues, this is a first class party on a platter that knows no bounds when it comes to how hard and far it can push. A stone good time throughout." -- Chris Spector, Midwest Record
“The most poignant song is definitely "" Memory (For Mom) ", which is about the omissions associated with Alzheimer's disease. Then there is "Hurricane", a song that stands out for the Tex-Mex drive, an additional accordion and horns...” Eric Schuumans, Rootstime, 7/1/2015
"I just received the newest release, Ante Up from Michele D'Amour and the Love Dealers and it's lively...New Orleans styled, Hurricane is probably a track that should go straight to the radio. It has a catchy melody, it's very danceable and fun vocally." Bman's Blues Report, 5/1/2015
“Fronting this band of seasoned blues rascals is Michele D’Amour. With her smooth delivery she sets up for nice laid back journey through the heart of a blues soul. She can wind a tale of serious heartache or cut up over the blues “Dress Code”. I would recommend this band to those that like the blues genre. So with this gauntlet thrown down Michele and the Love Dealers challenge you to Ante Up and throw the current fad called Pop Music aside and listen to something real.” Music Reviews by Michael, 5/3/2015
“Loved it from the first drum beat... really good stuff -- had me boppin' & diggin' it from start to finish.” Facebook Musician's Registry, 2/20/2015