Rating: 4.5/5
Distributor/Label: Orchards Distribution/Antic Records
Released: 2015
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Band Website: The Bloody Nerve


Stacey Blood: vocals’guitar
Laurie Anne Layne: vocals
Bobby Blood: bass/trumpet
Peter Wolf: drums
Terry Bayless: keyboards

  1. Place to Hide
  2. Local Honey
  3. Find Ya Love
  4. Changin’ Mind
  5. Luminol
  6. Strange
  7. Long Way Home
  8. Prayer at Night
  9. Paint Shop
  10. She

It’s a rare find indeed to come across a band that reaches into the past to define their sound and yet creates music that is simply…classic. Enduring. Sempiternal. They do exist, but they are often hidden underground or are on the rise and are not yet known.

One such band is Nashville’s The Bloody Nerve. At its heart a duo of Texan former DJ Stacey Blood and New Yorker Laurie Anne Layne, who began her musical career in R&B, the pair met in 2011 and felt such a connection that they moved in together immediately; two years later they decided to combine their talents and recruit Blood’s father, veteran session musician Bobby Blood, and The Bloody Nerve was born. They released two EP’s (‘Red’ and ‘Blue’) and were working on their debut full length when disaster in the form of a house/studio fire understandably delayed the album’s release. They tenaciously pulled out all the stops and have set a new release date for ‘Taste’ as November 6th, via Antic Records.

From the opening notes of first track ‘Place to Hide’, it becomes immediately obvious that this is something special. Combining a bluesy swagger and rock n roll beat with proper honky-tonk style piano, it features Blood on lead vocals with Layne performing backing duties. Blood’s voice is clear and pleasant, while the pair’s harmonising is fantastic. The song itself is insanely infectious; you will simply be unable to stop from moving to it’s perky beat. An excellent choice of song to take on the task of both lead single and album opener.

Similar in feel but with Layne on lead vocals is second track ‘Local Honey’: again, the jangly guitars blend well with the jaunty piano playing to create a catchy as hell number. Layne’s voice is husky and rich, in the vein of Linda Ronstadt or Pat Benetar. The song itself has a bit of an ‘Old Time Rock And Roll’ feel to it (the Seger classic, as well as it’s general vibe!).

They branch out from straight up old time bluesy rock from time to time, such as the beautiful, hippyish and rather (Seventies chanteuse) Melanie-tinged ‘Find Ya Love’, the album’s unofficial first single, as well as throwing in touches of country (it was made in Nashville, after all) in the likes of ‘Changin’ Mind’, with its slower yet urgent feel and organ section, and the dual-vocalled ‘Long Way Home’, with its simple piano refrain. There’s also shades of early rock n roll in the ‘It’s In His Kiss’-esque ‘Strange’ and the slightly more delicate ‘Luminol’, which again features that Doors-style organ.

There are two highlights on the album, for very different reasons. Album closer ‘She’, a piano-led gospel style song featuring Layne on lead vocals singing a song about a woman who works in the cotton fields, who sings and prays and gets through life. It has an air of a traditional slave song, at once beautiful and haunting. With its understated guitar solo and bittersweet piano, it’s a great song lifted to extraordinary heights by Layne’s vocal performance, which is simply breathtaking and literally brought a tear to this reviewer’s eye. It closes the album with a spinetingling big finish and will leave you breathless.

The other highlight is again one of their more bluesy numbers, ‘Paint Shop’. The track is redolent of old school blues, conjuring up vivid mental pictures of a speakeasy during Prohibition in America. With its sinuous piano instrumental and fat bass sound, it’s jaunty and sweaty and it just…swaggers. There’s no other word for it.

The Bloody Nerve follow no rules, fit no rigid genre and care not a jot for what is ‘in’ or ‘trending’. They simply play music that they love, and do so with passion and effortless joie de vivre. Some might call it old-fashioned. We would simply say it’s timeless.

Review by Melanie Brehaut