It may not come from the deep south but it emits more genuine and heartfelt Southerness than a whole host of legitimate Southern Rockers.
When this first arrived I originally had no biography so had no clue as to who or what Smokey Fingers was. Fast forward a couple of spins and I was insanely raving about the twelve tracks on offer, so much so I'd be willing to bet everything that America's deep south had unearthed yet another hidden gem. Imagine my surprise and shock when I was informed that SM came from Lodi, Italy – impossible! It turns out this four-piece, consisting of Gianluca Paterniti, Daniele Vaccini, Fabrizio Costa and Diego Dragoni, must have bourbon running through their veins and spent all their time listening to The Allman Brothers, Lynyrd Skynyrd and Blackfoot because this is "the most genuine sounding" Southern Hard Rock album I've heard in ages.
These boys can not only write and play but singer Paterniti has a voice to die for – imagine a cross between Paul Rodgers, Steve Lee and Johnny Van Zandt and you wouldn't be far off. Take a listen to the holy trinity of 'Black Madame', 'Rattesnake Trail' and 'The Road Is My Home' and I guarantee you'll be shaking your head in disbelief at the quality. 'The Basement', with its 'Play That Funky Music' type riff Southernised, is a belter as is the Skynyrd-influenced 'Floorwashing Machine Man' and the gritty 'Stage'.
I could extoll this album's virtues for hours, taking you through track by track. Such is the quality on offer here this release deserves far more column inches than I'll be granted. It's rare that a band of this quality arrives so unnoticed but that is about to change. If we cast our minds back a few short years, Blackberry Smoke and The Cadillac Three were two bands that people were talking about in revered tones and look how life has changed for them. Smokey Fingers are those bands, as loathed as I am to make comparisons, but if you like the idea of BS, Tangier, The Answer and LS making an album, then 'Promised...' is pretty much what they'd come up with.
I cannot praise this enough but I will say if you can only buy one album...buy this. It may not come from the deep south but it emits more genuine and heartfelt Southerness than a whole host of legitimate Southern Rockers. 'Promised Land' has just crept into "Album Of The Year' contention for me... actually, admitting it's only in contention is rather disrespectful.