"I'm digging the Jimmy P... he covers Blaze great, but it's his songs that close the deal for me.  Between the sentimental romance and the vivid imagery in Poet On The Run, Jimmy P.'s got it going on"

Rootsville Online Magazine

Let me come straight to the point: this album is one of the best i’ve got to hear the past months. Jimmy Pizzitola was completely unknown to me, until (SWA) gave me this album to review it. I have to admit it: it hit me like a sledgehammer. Jimmy’s a singer songwriter from Houston, Texas and he seems to be friends with a lady we love a lot ‘round here: Glenna Bell. He grew up on a musical diet of songs by the likes of Waylon Jennings, Willie Nelson, Jim Croce, Neil Young, James Taylor and Gerry Rafferty, all of them being known for their craftsmanship as songwriters.

I reckon all this food has left its traces: the first thing you hear, when you put this cd in the player, is that Jimmy’s got an ear for melody and the ability of telling a complete story within 4 minutes. The musical vehicle he’s riding has a lot to do with country and with the style we usually call “folk” around here. It’s the same kind of horse Townes Van Zandt used to ride, the one that brought Blaze Foley wherever he wanted to go. Blaze’s Cold Cold World is the cover song on this debut album by a guy with “a face of his own”: he manages to use the music that influenced him, whilst avoiding the copycat-thing. All of this leads us to an impressive album, which is big in all its simplicity: me, I’m not a great guitarist, but by now I can play all of the songs, after listening five or six times.

Does that prove anything? To me it proves that Jimmy Pizzitola doesn’t need any “look mom, no hands”-tricks, to reach maximum effect. The melodies sound so simple and organic, that, as a listener, you’d believe you could have written them yourself. If you had been a little talented, that is! The lyrics, on the other hand, prove that Jimmy’s a master in the Art of Scrapping: this record made me think of the Great Shel Silverstein, who was a master himself: not one word that wasn’t necessary, not too many words, not too little, but right-on-spot. Jimmy’s got it all. Life is fundamentally wrong: some people seem to have a lot of talents, other people don’t have any. Me, I’m happy I’m a good listener. Now it’s up to you….

Rootstime

From the musical bastion of Houston, Texas, we received this week a new CD from singer-songwriter Jimmy Pizzitola.  As a child he had the better singer-songwriters of the 70’s ingrained into him while riding in the backseat of his mother’s car.  She would listen to Neil Young, Jim Croce, James Taylor and Gerry Rafferty.  Trips with his father, more of a country fan, would bring the likes of Hank Williams, Waylon Jennings, and Willie Nelson to his attention.

 Jimmy Pizzitola sang and wrote songs in the late 90’s for his alt-country group Jimmy James & The Enablers.  Their best known works at the time were “Sweet Marie” and “Where The Hell’s The Johnny Cash In Your Jukebox?”  With that broad mix of influences and experiences he put out his first solo record in 2010.  The debut album, “Poet On The Run” drew mostly from the folkier Townes Van Zandt-style songs.

 He has now followed up that 2010 debut with “The Choctaw Wildfire Sessions”.  Choctaw Wildfire is a honky-tonk, boogie-woogie band from Austin, Texas, with singer-songwriter Charlie Pierce on piano, Leland Potter on drums (who has played with Rosie Flores and Dale Watson, among others), and Will Landin on bass and tuba.  Other instrumentalists are Justin Douglas on lead guitar, lap steel and pedal steel, and Matt Harlan on electric/lead guitar.  Ellen O’ Meara sings harmony on some tracks.

 Ten of the songs on “The Choctaw Wildfire Sessions” are Pizzitola’s compositions, including the older “Where’s The Johnny Cash?” which had not been recorded previously.  One song was selected to be retreaded, which was more than six minutes long: “The Tigers”, a song by Troy Von Balthazar from his 2010 album “How To Live On Nothing.”

 There are many country rockers on this album like “Pierced & Tattooed”, “Buffalo Bayou”, and “Fresh Water”, but we still prefer when he goes to the typical country ballads.  This album has some timeless gems, including “Evermore”, “Walk With Me”, and “Shiny Medals”.  The beautiful opening track “Give You Love” also deserves a special mention.

Our conclusion:  a great new album from an interesting Texas singer-songwriter.

 

Theo's Garden

Jimmy Pizzitola: The Choctaw Wildfire Sessions

Singer-songwriter Jimmy Pizzitola comes from Houston, Texas. He was musically shaped by listening to classroom bake as Neil Young, Gerry Rafferty, Jim Groce, Willie Nelson, Kris Kristofferson, John Prine and Townes Van Zandt. Like the latter Jimmy is an excellent storyteller. Sometimes ordinary love songs like Give You Love and Evermore. But his songs often have interesting perspectives. In the comic, but a sad undertone conditioned, Where's the Johnny Cash? He cares why the jukebox at the country bar he is in doesn't have any songs by Johnny Cash. If he feels down, he wants to hear sad country. Delicious honky tonk otherwise. In Pierced and Tattooed he ends up in a bad neighborhood of a city. Have you always wanted to know how it ends with the mentor of the Karate Kid, Mr. Miyag? Not so good, as evidenced by Karate Kid Blues "He's traded his Zen for sin." Getting medals for heroism has its obvious downside, it is considered in Shiny Medals: "He's got shiny medals where his heart used to be." In closing A Cat Named Steve he sings about his experiences with an imaginary cat. Musically it is very varied in each. The love songs are very modest and very laid-back sung by him. In addition, there is a number of up-tempo songs. The only slightly different number is the amazing cover of The Tigers, written by Troy Von Balthazar Bruno. His supervisors go here loose in a great way. The keyboard play calling here filled me with memories of Ray Manzarek.

He is accompanied by skilled musicians, including three musicians from Austin's Choctaw Wildfire. In addition, by Matt Harlan, who in the meantime has already gathered the necessary publicity in the Netherlands. Just before this album was recorded , Jimmy had jammed along with Choctaw Wildfire. They worked so well that they were three weeks later in the studio. Especially Charlie Pierce Leland Potter on keyboards and drums are old hands and lift it entirely to an even higher level. In addition, Justin Douglas delivers beautiful contributions pedal and lap steel. In a short time the Choctaw Wildfire Sessions has become one of my favorite americana CDs of 2016.

review
Theo People
9 Jul 2016
Jimmy Pizzitola
The Choctaw Wildfire Sessions