The War and Treaty
Strong World/Thirty Tigers
Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
Affirming the essence of all things positive, healing and loving has seldom felt so good.
All married couple Michael Trotter Jr. and Tanya Trotter need is their booming voices and a tambourine, as on the stripped-down opening “Love Like There’s No Tomorrow” to get the spiritual juices flowing. But when the rest of Buddy Miller’s curated band kicks in on the following title track, the vibrations of prime-era Delaney and Bonnie, Leon Russell and Sly & the Family Stone are nearby as this duo raises the roof in a glorious sweat-soaked display of gospel, rock, soul and blues testifying.
These 11 songs, recorded live in Miller’s home studio in five days, are heartfelt and emotion packed. Michael channels Otis Redding and Wilson Pickett as he reaches for the heavens on the searing ballad “If It’s In Your Heart” and Tanya does the same with nods to Aretha, Etta James and even Joplin on her scorching solo vocal in the churchy “Are You Ready To Love Me?”
But it’s the chemistry of both singers feeding off each other and Miller’s backing musicians on the carnal “Jeep Cherokee Laredo,” propelled by Miller’s banjo and guest Jim Hoke’s organ and baritone sax, that kicks the duo into overdrive. Emmylou Harris adds her distinctive pipes to the sweet, bluegrass-infused “Here Is Where The Loving Is At,” where the couple professes their love with “You bet your penny I’d rather go blind/ Than to see my life without you, it wouldn’t be right.” It’s a future wedding standard in the making.
When the tempos pump and chug, as on the thumping “All I Wanna Do,” the rugged, propulsive energy generated by The War and Treaty is nothing less than inspirational. With their beaming outpouring of positivity and joyous approach to life and love, this rousing music encourages togetherness in these troubled times.