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The Lonesome Sparrows
Velvet’s songs and intelligent lyrics shine when put in contrast with Memphis’ guitar work, Java’s bass and Neal’s assortment of dobros, mandolins and banjos.
— Pat Ferrucci, The New Haven Register
The Critics Say:
Back in the summer I had the pleasure of attending The Lonesome Sparrows show at Frank Critelli’s Songs From The Sofa series. As I sat there, the woman next to me leaned over and said, “These guys can play!!”
Dubbed the “Acoustic Army,” we have a trio of professional pickers: James Velvet (acoustic rhythm guitar), Johnny Memphis (acoustic lead guitar, fiddle), and Dick Neal (dobro, mandolin, banjo), who have been trading licks, picks, and chops for decades. Anchored by Johnny Java (electrified bass guitar, percussion), who keeps these three from swaying too far off the amazing tightrope they walk. — Gary Vollono, IndepenDisc.com
The Lonesome Sparrows, Black Velvet Royalty, (Mister Lucky Records, jamesvelvet.com). Last time singer-songwriter James Velvet put out a record, it was with his rock ’n’ roll band The Ivory Bills. This time, a mere calendar year later, he’s fronting his acoustic (plus electric bass) group. Ace players Johnny Memphis and Dick Neal take the instrumental leads, delivering judicious counterpoint and playing off the cues in Velvet’s lyrics; and even with these hoedown-y arrangements, you can’t take the rocker out of Velvet. —Brian LaRue, NH Advocate