...Michele D'Amour and the Love Dealers have the kind of sound and chops that likely would have earned them a record deal even with the old industry paradigm. With a soulful sound that draws as much from Bluff City R&B stylings as it does from the blues tradition, Heart of Memphis is built upon D'Amour's original songwriting. A simmering, smoldering cut like Dirty Pool stays within the rigid blues framework, but some ace guitar work -- with loads of 60's style fuzz tone -- ratches up the energy. D'Amour's big voice is the perfect foil for the equally big vibe of her five-piece backing band. When the group digs into the slow burn of Come On Over, they apply instrumental backing that suggests the influence of Albert King (or perhaps King by way of Santana by way of Peter Green's Fleetwood Mac). A crystalline piano solo courtesy of Brian Olendorf, followed by Noel Barnes' sultry tenor sax solo, demonstrates that this ensemble can play it classy with the same authenticity it brings to more down-and-dirty blues. ”

— Living Blues, August 2019

Blues Blast Magazine, November 2022  

Pacific Northwest vocalist Michele D’Amour and her band had a great run of music production and success and then the Pandemic hit. Their 2020 plans, like with so many other musicians, were dashed and they hunkered down. They spent two years rewriting material and adapting their sound with a new guitarist and drummer and have now produced a great new CD. Ten original tracks are included and a cool cover are featured on this album.  

Michele is from the Seattle area as is Patrick McDanel, the bassist.  Richard Newman from Memphis went to become their guitar player and Kitchner, Ontario, drummer Carl Martin joined the band, too. Also playing here are Noel Barnes on saxophones, Tom Worrell on piano (two tracks) and Philip Woo ads his organ on a cut; D’Amour penned nine of the new songs and Newman wrote the other.  

The album begins with the title track. It’s funky, has tons of Wah Wah pedal and saxophone. The cut is D’Amour giving advice to a girlfriend who needs to turn her life around. “I Walk On Guilded Splinters” follows, which features a deep bass and guitar groove. D’Amour takes Dr. John’s tune and gives it her own dark take on it, chanting voodoo and other dark stuff, it’s a fun track. “Plum Crazy” is up next, with some more heavy guitar and bass, blending surf rock and some heavy blues. The theme here is a ’46 Ford (depicted on the album cover) with a driving beat as Michele singing with lots of emotion. Next is “Devil In The Dark,” with some more funkiness and rocking stuff. D’Amor sings about the folks who are out there pretending to be and do good but who really are out to mess with us. There is a big, funky guitar solo here to enjoy, too.  

“If The Shoe Fits” delivers some more heavy guitar and some great sax licks, too. We get some pretty piano to savor on “Muddlin Through.” D’Amour sings about doing the best we can do and not to judge each other. “Helping Hand” continues the gritty vocal work in a down tempo piece; here we get some nice organ backing and a baritone sax solo to enjoy. “It Won’t Break My Heart” picks up the pace in a broken relationship song; the beat may be peppy but the lyrics certainly are not. Another nice sax solo is delivered here, followed by a stinging guitar solo.  

“Cold Red Sun” is a tune about the devastation of forest fires out west. The band delivers it with a rumba which helps set the tone for this dark themed cut. A pair of  fine guitar solos are featured on this song, one in the middle and one to take us home. “Nurse With A Purse” is a cut about a sugar mama, where D’Amour sings with some humor to us about a kept man. The sax and guitar are once again well done. “Your Dachshund Won’t Leave Me Alone” features a Crescent City sound with Michele describing the wicked little dog she is not too fond of. There is more super sax work, some grimy guitar, and some delightful piano which serve well to close out a fine album.  

There is a lot to like here. D’Amour’s vocals are controlled and balanced, delivering power when she needs to and offering restraint when appropriate. The electric and steel guitar work are super, the backline is steady, solid, and funky and the horns and keys ad nice dimensions to the music. I enjoyed this album of rocking and funky blues. It is Michele’s seventh album and she and the new band have done an outstanding job producing new music for blues fans to enjoy!

Metronome, November 2022
"Lots of fine guitar work from Richard Newman...Album artwork is hot, horn work is tasty and the rhythm section smokes..."

Blues Matters (UK) August-September 2019

Blues in the South (UK) Sept. 2019


"I can’t help it, every time I listen to or read her name I am compelled to sing “rat-ta-tat-ta-tat”…forgive me Michele, I am but a product of my eccentric mind! 

Anyway, in case you have missed this talented vocalist and songwriter, Seattle born Michele D’Amour began playing piano and songwriting at the tender age of six and singing in the church choir. Her father’s record collection was a diverse and essential part of her musical development. After performing with a number of local bands, in 2012 she formed a band to embrace the blues, jazz, funk and rock she had come to love. Michele D’Amour and the Love Dealers was born and have now released their fifth album featuring seven originals and one cover and, as it was recorded at the famed Royal Studios in Memphis, it’s called, rather appropriately, Heart of Memphis. Their last couple of albums are also reviewed here on Bluesdoodles. 

It opens with the very Latin flavours of Another Sleepless Night with the guitar evoking Santana with its glorious tone and picking throughout and then a magnificent solo…plus you get horns and Michele at her understated best singing in a lower register and adding a spoken word section as she wonders “if that man will ever come home”. A neat shift of pace and genre as we get a blues riff that may seem familiar (like a very laid back Free) but the keys add depth and the vocals are suitably dirty for the part of the scorned woman portrayed…the guitar solo is laid back also but has a range and variations that make this a very powerful song. It steps up another grade with an intelligent Hammond solo too…an instant favourite. Another shift as we get Come On Over served as rhumba styled song with subtle guitar and sultry vocal, plus neat piano and a trumpet solo that works well even if it’s not normally my favourite instrument. I’m on my way, Michele!  Cradle To The Hearse is my kind of title and here it is delivered on a soulful base with horns, keys and funky guitar. It is a bit of a paradox as the heavy guitar riff and fuzzed solo is almost conflicted by the descending horns and then a sax solo of quality that makes it all work. No Time is a fast funk story of the pace of life in this modern world…alot of truths are shared over the strummed guitar and then we get a bass solo that is both surprising and very welcome. 

The title track, Heart Of Memphis, is all about the band’s recent trip to the famous Beale Street and its many music venues all over a slow blues/jazz hybrid that can only be apt with a slow-burning sax solo summing it up. Next up is an instrumental that celebrates the diversity of music that Memphis is home to…it was written by King Curtis with the lyrics providing a recipe for making music as he introduced each instrument. Michele speaks the words on Memphis Soul Stew (pronounced ‘Stoo’ apparently!) and then lets the band provide the voices as each member is given free rein to interpret the original in their own way. Sax, guitar, electric piano, bass and drums all get their moment and supply a thoroughly entertaining mix of skill and styles. It closes out with the gospel blues of Strange Angels. This is, for me, a bit of anti-climax… don’t get me wrong, it is a well thought out song with lovely bass and piano but it just feels a bit leaden after what has gone before…but that might just be me. 

All in all, this is a very good album with many highlights…the guitar in particular for me. Michele and the band have put together another string blues-infused mix of styles that works well and supplies songs to suit every mood or if you need a lift there is plenty to help there too…a smile will always greet the Memphis Soul Stew. 

EIGHTdoodle paws out of TEN …"   -- Tom Dixon, BluesDoodles 


"MICHELE D’AMOUR AND THE LOVE DEALERS Heart of Memphis BluesKitty Records – For musicians, one upside of the internet and its associated technological innovations is that the old barriers to entry are largely gone; anyone can make and release an album. Unfortunately, that reality is also a downside for the listening public: anyone can make an album. As such, self-released albums are greeted with certain skepticism. Happily, Memphis-based blues outfit Michele D’Amour and the Love Dealers have the kind of sound and chops  that likely would have earned them a record deal even within the old industry paradigm. 

With a soulful sound that draws as much from Bluff City R&B stylings as it does from the blues tradition, Heart of Memphis is built upon D’Amour’s original songwriting. A simmering, smoldering cut like Dirty Pool stays within the rigid blues framework, but some ace lead guitar work from Jeff Cornell—with loads of ’60s-style fuzz tone—ratchets up the energy.

D’Amour’s big voice is the perfect foil for the equally big vibe of her five-piece backing band. When the group digs into the slow burn of Come On Over, they apply instrumental backing that suggests the influence of Albert King (or perhaps King by way of Santana by way of Peter Green’s Fleetwood Mac). A crystalline piano solo courtesy of Brian Olendorf, followed by Noel Barnes’ sultry tenor sax solo, demonstrates that this ensemble can play it classy with the same authenticity it brings to more down-and-dirty tunes. 

The band does employ the occasional questionable arrangement choice: the horn charts on Cradle to the Hearse sound like the kind of sampled instruments one would have heard on 1980’s McCartney II. But the tune itself is solid, and has enough other qualities to redeem it somewhat. And presumably the group’s objective with such a gambit—taking the blues form and bringing it to bear on more modern/trendy musical textures—is an honorable one. D’Amour’s spoken parts crop up throughout the album, and they too are less effective than her singing. But such shortcomings stand out precisely because of Heart of Memphis’ overall high standard of quality.

—Bill Kopp / Living Blues Magazine 


"MICHELE D’AMOUR & the Love Dealers/Heart of Memphis:  Even though this is blues and not world beat, world beaters will get it when D’Amour says Memphis feels like home.  More of a blues/Memphis soul stew than a straight up Stax etc. feeling set, this white girl with the blues doesn’t make any bones about taking blues where she needs to as it takes her where it will.  Fun stuff for modern ears that don’t really care about picking cotton on the delta and want to hear some choogling the way they think it should be.  On the money throughout.​"  -- Midwest Record, 5/14/19


 "Seattle based Michele and her band utilised some of their spare time while they were in Memphis for the IBC week in January of two thousand and nineteen, by using the facilities of the legendary Royal Studios and the services of owner, engineer and producer Lawrence “Boo” Mitchell. The eight numbers here, consist of seven new originals and a cover version of the King Curtis classic “Memphis Soul Stew”. The numbers were recorded live in the Royal Studios on a Friday night and later, finished-off this, their fifth album at The Strange Earth and Love Studios in Seattle. Michele takes lead vocals while Patrick McDanel; plays bass, Dave Delzotto; drums, Brian Olendorf; keyboards and Noel Barnes; tenor saxophone. Michele’s strong and confident voice easily melds with Brian’s deeply rich keyboard work, which reminds one of the late Jon Lord, the strident, fierce organ-work is beautifully laced with the deeply affecting horn section of Greg Lyons; trumpet and Greg Schroeder; trombone. 

This seamless partnership is splendidly displayed on the opening number “Another Sleepless Night”, which is a tale of infidelity and painful deceit. In the same vein is “Dirty Pool” whereby a woman’s cheating other half gets his just desserts, on this number the soaring, soothing vocals of Michele delightfully merge with an enticing mellow guitar and almost church-like rising organ. 

On “Come On Over”, Michele easily slips into seductive siren mode, as the piano led, late night slinky jazz inflections splendidly underpin her vocals, entwined within is a sublime and engaging trumpet solo from Greg Lyons which is very enjoyable and most satisfying. A stuttering, stabbing trumpet introduces a searing and punching fuzz guitar on “Cradle to The Hearse”, here; Michele’s alluringly scorched vocals are lustily joined by an equally scorching, soul burning saxophone, a very, fine slice of funk indeed!  The King Curtis classic “Memphis Soul Stew”, is delivered with sublime, panache, where the band take it in turns to display their undoubted musicianship, as you allow yourself to sink into the dreamy, funky atmosphere, you can (if, you are of a certain age) easily drift into the glorious past. “Heart Of Memphis”, is a splendid dreamy, slowburning ode to a time past, when it seemed that every street and corner oozed with the blues and its precious essence seeped upwards soaking into everything as it disappeared into the ether." 

Greatly endorsed! 

-- Brian Harman, Blues in the South (UK), August 2019 


"This is the third album I’ve received from Michele D’Amour And The Love Dealers and they continue to grow and impress me with their work. D’Amour’s vocals have always been strong, and while her songwriting was good in the previous works, I feel she has stepped up her game considerably on this disc, writing or co-writing seven out of the eight tracks. 

Yes, Heart Of Memphis is only eight tracks long and comes in at about 34 minutes from start to finish, but the work is quality all the way. The title track comes from their latest visit to Memphis and finding themselves energized by just being in the city. There’s a reason that Memphis is in the title of more songs than any other city, and the song will give you several reasons as to why. 

The album starts out with the slow sultry Another Sleepless Night and D’Amour is at her smoky best. I’ve always enjoyed her work, and this one sets a great mood. There’s a great guitar break and D’Amour wrings just about every emotion from her lyrics. I’m not sure about the spoken word section, but can overlook it for the rest of the song. 

She keeps it slow and smoky for Dirty Pool. It’s the story of that man who says, “Trust me baby,” and then proceeds to demonstrate that he’s not worthy of your time or attention. The first couple of songs establish D’Amour’s nuanced voice and you can feel her aloneness standing behind the microphone. 

Following that song with Come On Over, D’Amour and the Love Dealers stay mellow. It’s a song of longing, pleading, for her lover to join her. She beckons with her voice and I doubt many would be able to resist her siren song. I love the trumpet and think this would appeal not only to blues fans, but jazz fans as well. It reminds me of some of my favorite soul numbers from back in the day. 

D’Amour adds some oomph to Cradle To The Hearse. The guitar is distorted, but the horns add a brightness to the song. The juxtaposition is nice and gives the song a layered feel. I have a feeling that this is well received when performed live, I can hear several places where longer breaks would fit and work the audience into a frenzy. 

They crank up the tempo on No Time, and D’Amour delivers an almost breathless vocal. I love this one and you can feel the band coming together to perform their fastest song yet. The sax adds a nice touch and elevates the song nicely. Yeah, you’ll be hearing this one – and a few others – on Time For The Blues. Careful woman, you may be too fast… 

They follow with the title track Heart Of Memphis, a love song to one of the holiest of cities if you worship in the church of the blues. It captures the spirit of many artists and makes my poor soul feel at home. I love this song and will definitely be playing it on the show. Every blues lover should make their pilgrimage to this great city, especially during the International Blues Challenge or the Blues Music Awards. See you there next year! 

The only song D’Amour didn’t write or co-write, King Curtis’ Memphis Soul Stew may be the perfect song to follow that title track. D’Amour and the Love Dealers get funky with this classic. I can’t imagine anyone sitting still while the band plays this infectious number. D’Amour handles the intro then turns everyone lose and they cook up a fabulous musical mélange! Very well done… 

D’Amour ends the album with the powerful ballad Strange Angels. Her voice is still in fine form and the backing vocals take on the role of her choir complete with church style piano accompaniment. It’s a nice way to end the album and a great addition to the collection. 

Michele D’Amour is a good songwriter, her lyrics are often poetic and always engaging, but it’s her voice that truly shines. She’s got a good range and can vary her delivery from down and dirty growl to gospel fervor believer to soft come hither purr. I’ve never seen her perform live, but listening to all three of her albums has given me an appreciation for her work. 

Be sure to check MicheleD’Amour and the Love Dealers out at their website." - Professor Johnny P


"Michele D’Amour grew up in the Seattle region, and she and her band, The Love Dealers, have four releases already under their belt.  Back in January, they made the trek to Memphis for the IBC,  and were so taken in by the ambience and history of the Bluff City that they headed straight to Royal Studios and producer Boo Mitchell to lay down what would become their fifth release, “Heart Of Memphis.”  Seven originals and one sho’ nuff funky cover make this one a solid package, indeed! 

Michele’s got that big, bold voice, and The Love Dealers have a cool rhythm and horn section, laying down a serious groove, no matter the song.  Leading off is the Santana-by-way-of-Peter Green vibe of “Another Sleepless Night, my baby’s gone away!”  Michele gets into her best come-hither lines to coax a lover to “Come On Over, I need some relief,” in this smoldering, sexy, strutter.  Our heroine later finds herself down at the Crossroads in “Cradle To The Hearse,” where “nothin’s so bad it can’t get worse!”  This one has some fierce, booty-kickin’ sax from Noel Barnes.  Everybody gets funky on a cool take of one of STAX’s most iconic instrumentals, “Memphis Soul Stew,” and they close out with our favorite.  Michele plays the blues preacher to the hilt as she lays out a bittersweet story of playing in bars for the lovers, the broken, the homeless, and those who just want to drink their troubles away over a musical backdrop.  It’s a church-ified tale of “Strange Angels,” where “we’re all community here,” unlikely shepherds to a culturally-diverse flock. 

Michele D’Amour And The Love Dealers are all fantastic musicians in their own right.  When you add the soul, blues, and overall vibe of Memphis and the Royal Studios into the mix, “Heart Of Memphis” becomes a powerful set, indeed!!!"  Until next time…Sheryl and Don Crow, The Nashville Blues And Roots Alliance.



Ten months seems to be a good common denominator on Michele D'Amour And The Love Dealers calendar. Not only has it been exactly ten months since I sat here working on "Wiggle Room" (their last release), but with "Heart Of Memphis" being their fifth release since February of 2014 (when they cut their debut disc), they seem to be averaging a recording every ten months. Should we expect to be hearing from you again in March of 2020, Michele? This listener is hoping so. 

"Heart Of Memphis" was recorded in Memphis, at the beginning of the year, while Michele And The Love Dealers were in town for the International Blues Challenge. The band consists of: "Michele D'Amour McDanel on lead and backing vocals; hubby Patrick McDanel on bass; Jeff Cornell on guitar; Dave Delzotto on drums; Brian Olendorf on keyboards and horn arrangements; and Noel Barnes on tenor sax. Special guests include: Rae Gordon, Sheila Kelly and Kristi Miller on backing vocals; Greg Lyons on trumpet; and Greg Schroeder on trombone. The recording consists of eight tracks with seven of them being band originals. 

With the rhythm and percussion providing a substantial Latin flair, if you like to Merengue, Cha-Cha, Mambo or Salsa then "Another Sleepless Night" is right in your wheelhouse. This opening track, although somber in the story it tells, is definitely one you may want to Samba to as well. 

"Come On Over" is not anything Michele would ever have to say twice. As a matter of fact, if there were ever an offer I couldn't refuse it would be hearing her sultrily saying "Come On Over, I need some relief. Only your love can satisfy me." From the vocals, to the rhythm, to the entrancing piano and trumpet leads by Brian and Greg, this is one hell of a very sexy song. 

Since "No Time" is about life at a frenzied pace, that's a logical pace for the band to be at as well. With the guys in a funk on steroids mode, Michele playfully - and anxiously - sings about making 'instant' coffee, driving her 'fast' car in the 'express' lane, shopping on the 'high speed' Internet, making 'minute' rice and getting 'overnight' deliveries......amongst other quick fixes. Be advised - if you're driving, as this one comes to an end there is no need to pull over.....as I almost did. 

The title track, "The Heart Of Memphis" tells the story of Michele And The Love Dealers trip to Memphis. It's a soulful number that touches on the vibe of the International Blues Challenge; the allure of Beale Street; the camaraderie with fellow musicians; and something that I all too well remember - dealing with snow flurries; slick and icy streets; fourteen-degree temperature; and chilling winds. Yep, I was right - there was a song in there somewhere and Michele co-wrote it. 

The only cover on the disc is the bands very soulful rendition of "Memphis Soul Stew" (King Curtis). As Michele narrates the instrumental recipe, each performer gets highlighted making it one of the disc's best musical tracks. That said, I'm thinking the band may have thought they were making a triple batch because they were pleasingly heavy with all the ingredients. 

Other tracks on "Heart Of Memphis" include: "Dirty Pool," "Cradle To The Hearse" and "Strange Angels." 

To find out more about Michele D'Amour And the Love Dealers just go to www.micheledamourandthelovedealers.com. Also, should you have not yet received your copy of "Heart Of Memphis" for airplay, please contact Betsie Brown at www.blindraccoon.com. BTW, when you contact the ladies, please let them know the Blewzzman sent you. 

Peter "Blewzzman" Lauro



"The album recorded in Memphis, live in the recording studio , without all the embellishments that modern digital recording usually imposes on the “in studio” sound of bands and artists, is a refreshing and at times quite exciting approach to “keeping” the sound as real and live as you can get.

You have no hesitation in understanding that what you hear on this cd is what you would get in a live performance!  And that’s a great thing!   Michele sings with fire and gusto on some classic stomping Rn B grooves,  then brings it down to a soulful, melodic romp when required. The band play with a skill and feel that complements her singing so well. They are a tight and professional unit, individually excelling when called upon, and always laying down a solid , pulsating rocking rhythm, getting very funky, down and dirty!   And don’t we just love it!"  - David Roman, The Mystery Train


"Michele D’Amour hails from the Seattle area. She started by playing piano and singing in church. In her early teens she was a published poet. She soon began writing her own songs, and singing with several bands; and in 2017 won the Grand Prize in the John Lennon Songwriting Competition. This is The Love Dealers fourth recording the last being 2018’s “Wiggle Room”. 

In 2018 the local Washington Blues Society awarded the Love Dealers with three nominations including best album, best songwriting and best bassist. The band includes D’Armour, lead and background vocals; Patrick McDanel, bass; Jeff Cornell, guitar; Dave Delzotto, drums; Brian Olendorf, keyboards; and Noel Barnes, tenor sax. 

While in Memphis on a promotional tour during IBC week the band recorded these tracks at the legendary Royal Studios in Memphis. The recording was engineered by producer Lawrence “Boo” Mitchell; and mixed and mastered at the Strange Earth and Love Studios in Seattle by Steve Feasley.  Seven new originals were written or co-written by D’Amour. Also included is a classic cover. 

The set opens with a Latin rhythm as D’Armour sings of “Another Sleepness Night” while her man is away from home.  “Dirty Pool” is about a woman scorned. How can anyone be so mean? D’Armour’s vocal is convincing. 

Two songs are currently receiving airplay. The alluring D’Amour is suggestive as she sings “Come On Over”; featured is some fine piano and a horn arrangement from Olendorf as guest trumpeter Greg Lyons takes his solo. “From The Cradle To The Hearse” features another horn arrangement from Olendorf as Lyons is joined by trombonist Greg Schroeder. 

“No Time” includes some fine guitar from Cornell, and a great bass solo from McDanel. The title track “Heart of Memphis” features sax man Barnes. 

D’Amour introduces “a half cup of bass” from McDanel, “a pound of fatback drums” from Delzotto, “four tablespoons of boiling guitar” from Cornell, a “pinch of organ” from keyboardist Olendorf, and “a half pint of horn” from Barnes. The band brings King Curtis’ 1967 recipe “Memphis Soul Stew” to a boil on this outstanding version. 

The set closes with the gospel inspired “Strange Angels” as D’Amour suggests that she and the band are ministers of the soul.  D’Armour is a great songwriter, an excellent vocalist and fronts a fine Seattle based ensemble."  -- Richard Ludmerer, Making a Scene


"I just had the opportunity to review the most recent release, Heart of Memphis, from Michele D'Amour and the Love Dealers and it's got real traction. Opening with Another Sleepless Night, a slick, Latin flavored track along the lines of Black Magic Woman, finds Michele up front on vocal with Jeff Cornell laying down some sweet guitar lead, backed by Patrick McDanel on bass, Dave Delzotto on drums, Brian Olendorf on keys and Noel Barnes on sax. Another breezy, bluesy track with Latin rhythm is Come On Over with Sheila Kelly and Kristi miller singing lush backing vocals. Olendorf's piano solo is smooth and a tasty trumpet insert by Greg Lyons adds just the right iridescence. Title track, Heart of Memphis has rich horns and smooth vocal leads by Michele. With a nice interwoven texture of trumpet, bass, guitar, lead and backing vocal, this is a cool radio track. One of the most fun tracks on the release is funky, Memphis Soul Stew a la James Brown style. Michele directs the building of a cool stew of jam. A warm sax solo by Barnes, tight guitar solo by Cornell, a great bass solo by McDanel, snappy drums by Delzotto and of course a bright piano solo by Olendorf makes this one of my favorites on the release. Wrapping the release is bluesy ballad, Strange Angels, with the focus on Michele on lead. I really like the lead bass lines and little things like the warm backing vocals and the spiritual styling of Olendorf's piano and organ work. Solid closer." -- Bman's Blues Report 7/23/2019 


"MICHELE D’AMOUR & the Love Dealers: Wiggle Room:  Recording for her own label, this white girl with the blues shows she was inspired by the same red hot blues mommas as Bonnie Raitt but she doesn’t have label geeks showing up with notes telling her what to do which is probably why she won the John Lennon song competition last year.  Walking through doors opened by Lavay Smith and others a few decades ago, this sexy, sassy set shows how to really get it done.  Fun stuff that really delivers the goods." - Midwest Record, 8/4/18  http://midwestrecord.com/MWR1402.html


"Seattle native D’Amour’s new album features lounge jazz, straight-ahead-funky blues and swinging tunes that explore the meanness of the world, the desire for a good man, the stinging consequences of cheating and the humor of a one-sided relationship. D’Amour gathers first-rate musicians around her, including Patrick McDanel on bass and trombone, Jeff Cornell on guitar, Dave Delzotto on drums, Brian Olendorf on keyboards and Noel Barnes on tenor and baritone sax. 

Sweet Lovin’ Man offers a response, musically and lyrically, to Muddy Waters’ Mannish Boy; the song opens with that well-known riff from Waters, but it’s soon off in a jazzy direction fueled by Barnes’ sax. The song’s chorus bounces along brightly, and Barnes’ sax on the bridge carries the song out into an ethereal realm. 

On the title track, a perfect lounge song that shows off D’Amour’s sultry and luscious voice, Greg Lyons’ trumpet provides a toodling opening over which D’Amour and the band lay a voluptuous vamp. McDanel’s trombone on the bridge, which plays call and response with Lyons’ trumpet, recalls the jazzy scampering of Duke Ellington’s East St. Louis Toodle-Oo, but it’s D’Amour’s seductive vocals that draw us into the song. 

The wink-and-a-nod lyrics fit the dashing rhythms of Honey on the Side, on which the singer warns lovers: “better know what you’re doing when you reach into the hive / watch out for the bees when you got honey on the side.” 

Let It Slide features Santana-like guitar riffs that introduce phrases from Black Magic Woman that provide the song’s sonic foundation. Been So Long takes off much like Deep Purple’s Highway Star, featuring similar phrases and riffs and a similar soaring organ on the bridge; Been So Long dashes off, breathlessly taking every turn until it drives back home. It best showcases the brilliance of the musicians and of D’Amour’s vocals. 

The album closes with a lament, Hard Times, which opens with a cascading piano and then flows with swelling organ into D’Amour’s mourning over the rampant hatred and the deaths of innocent people caused by racist violence. Although the lyrics are sometimes simplistic and formulaic, the beauty of the song derives from the swelling of the guitars and saxes, and their aching, moaning tones. 

Wiggle Room showcases D’Amour’s powerful vocals and her ability to express deep emotions with her phrasings. The songs on the album move smoothly between jazz and blues, capturing the hard edges of the blues in the improvisations of jazz, allowing the rhythms to breathe life between notes and discover joy in every measure."

—Henry L. Carrigan Jr. / Living Blues Oct. 2018


"Michele D’Amour and the Love Dealers are another in a string of award winning blues bands based in Seattle.  Their three previous albums have all received international radio airplay, and this one will be no exception.  It is already #1 on the RMR charts (four weeks and counting), and all 10 songs have charted.  D’Amour also won the Grand Prize in the John Lennon Songwriting Competition for her song “Trouble,” as well as a nomination from the Washington Blues Society for Best Songwriter.  The music is funky and smooth, with those amazing vocals of D’Amour leading the way.  On the musician side, she gets some amazing help from Noel Barnes on sax, Patrick McDanel on bass and trombone, Jeff Cornell on electric and resonator guitar, Dave Delzotto on drums and Brian Olendorf on keys, as well as special appearances by Angelo Ortiz on congas and Greg Lyons on trumpet.  Vocally she gets some great backing vocals from special guests Nora Michaels and John Oliver III.  This album should be the crown jewel of your blues collection. 

Recommendation:  Don’t even think about it – you simply MUST add this one to your collection. 
Get it now!"  - LA Music Critic / Indie Voice Blog 


"Michele D’Amour (pronounce it de-Moore) grew up in west Seattle, and was a child prodigy on piano by age six. She and her band, The Love Dealers, have just released their first album on Michele’s own BluesKitty label, “Wiggle Room,” ten originals (and two co-writes with guitarist Jeff Cornell and keys man Brian Olendorf), that showcase the reason she won a Grand Prize in the 2017 John Lennon Songwriting Competition. 

Michele is a big-voiced, blues-beltin’ chanteuse, who’s equally comfortable with a torch song as she is with straight blues and even protest songs, of which there are a couple of brilliant ones herein. She’s expanded the fullness of the sound of The Love Dealers, adding four new members, and everything comes together quite swimmingly. 

Michele gets into the “swing” of things with the stop-time swagger of that “Sweet Lovin’ Man to come home to every night!” Gotta love Noel Barnes on that sax solo, too! The title cut is a sweet shot of “last call” jazz, with our heroine lookin’ for a lover to “send me to the moon, with a little bit of Wiggle Room!” And, all you back-door-creepin’ lotharios better heed Michele’s advice, set over a cool, Seventies’ wah-wah-fired arrangement, “watch out for the bees, when you got Honey On The Side.” 

Our favorites came in the form of two songs that tell a sad tale of the current state of much of today’s society. Over the Chet Baker-ish trumpet of Greg Lyons, Michele tells the story of the plight of the nation’s homeless, “Nothing To No One, of no consequence.” Nothing, however, compares to the powerful “Hard Times,” detailing the senseless violence in Charleston, SC, as well as what seems to be a daily occurrence somewhere in the world. 

Michele D’Amour’s desire was to create a set that uses music to help us celebrate good times and cope with life’s struggles. This one has “Wiggle Room” to spare, and spreads a positive message to all blues fans! Until next time…Sheryl and Don Crow, The Nashville Blues Society."



"Although "Wiggle Room" is the fourth release for Michele D'Amour & The Love Dealers, there are several "firsts' that come into play with the project. The album happens to be her first release on her very own Blueskitty Records - and it's also her first release with her new band. 

Joining Michele D'Amour McDanel, on lead and backing vocals, are: hubby Patrick McDanel - the only remaining Love Dealer from past releases - on electric bass, electric upright bass and trombone; Jeff Cornell on electric, acoustic and resonator guitars; Dave Delzotto on drums; Brian Olendorf on keyboards; and Noel Barnes on tenor and baritone saxes. Other special guest musicians include: Nora Michaels and John Oliver III on backing vocals; Angelo Ortiz on congas; and Greg Lyons on trumpet. 

Having heard all of her previous releases, it's my opinion that the changes Michele made were indeed made for the best because hands down, "Wiggle Room" is the best of the bunch. The disc contains ten, all original tracks. 

So with so many songs that use those all too common terms such as loser, cheater, liar, drunk, rotten, abusive, dirty dog, etc, to describe men, it's refreshing to hear one being sung about a "Sweet Lovin' Man". The only problem is that Michele had to go through most of the others prior to finding that sweet lovin' man to come home to every night. Michele and Nora's lead and back up vocals are smooth and sassy, Patrick and Dave have the rhythm right in the pocket and Noel's tenor sax leads are absolutely splendid. 

Have you ever thought that one day you might be homeless? Probably not! Although most of us dread the thought of contacting cancer; having a heart attack or even passing a kidney stone (yikes!), most of us don't think we'll ever be homeless - and yet so many unfortunate people are. Just imagine, as Michele has done, that you are: 
"Nothing to no one, of no consequence, 
his heart's overdrawn, his life makes no sense. 
Stands on the corner, holding a sign, 
pretend you don't see, pay him no mind. 
And nothing to no one, it's dark and it's cold, 
the streets are no place to be growing old 
He aches all over, keeps moving somehow, 
lost and forgotten, no place for him now." 
Imagine that - being and meaning "Nothing To No One". Kinda makes you think about those times - as I've admittedly done - pretended I didn't see him and I paid him no mind. Patrick's deep bass lines, Greg's muffling trumpet and Brian's hushed piano leads eerily take you for a walk down a dark alley - a place this unfortunate person most likely calls home. 

"Let It Slide" has so much going on it may very well be the disc's best track. The thirty second intro featured such an intense rhythm and percussion thing that I was actually looking forward to it being an instrumental. In that short a time I was just blown away by the hypnotic vibe being laid down by Angelo (congas), Brian (organ), Dave (drums) and Patrick (bass). Then Michele starts singing with this absolutely beautiful, powerful yet soft, note holding voice that instantly commanded my attention......that is until Jeff jumped in with his crazy good guitar licks. Take it from the Blewzzman, if you want to zone out for awhile, put on your headphones, turn the volume up a bit and play this one 4-5 times. Right about here kudos to the disc's producer - Mark Riley - and engineer - Steve Feasley - are in order. You guys earned your fee on this one alone. 

On this particular track Michele laments over the useless efforts she puts herself through in her attempts to prove herself "Worthy" to a loser who's not at all worthy of the effort. It is another of the many well written tracks in which she makes strong statements and sends out strong messages. If slow, sultry sax leads perk your ears, midway through this one Noel's got a real nice treat for you. 

With a title like "Hard Times", you'd like to think that this was a song about the great depression or some other event you'd like to forget about from the long ago past. In reality, what's greatly depressing is that story the song is telling is taking place right now. It's more about humanitarianism...or lack of it...than it is about politics - but we all know how fine than line is. Michele's heartfelt lead vocals, along with John's soulful back ups as well, do a fabulous job of putting intense feelings into the songs powerful lyrics. Musically, the dark rhythm, the somber sax tones and the solemn keyboard chords perfectly set the tracks melancholy mood. 

Other tracks on "Wiggle Room" include: "Falling Down", "Wiggle Room", "Honey On The Side", "Been So Long" and "He Can't Be Wrong". 

Between putting her new and best band together, putting out her best work yet and putting it in the hands of one of the best publicists in the genre, Michele D'amour & The Love Dealers have now got it all going on. 

To find out more Michele D'Amour And The Love Dealers go to www.micheledamourandthelovedealers.com or just search her on Facebook. If you've not yet received a copy of "Wiggle Room" for airplay, please contact Betsie Brown at www.blindraccoon.com. Whomever you contact, please make sure you tell them the Blewzzman sent you." - Peter "Blewzzman" Lauro, Mary4Music 



I just had the opportunity to review the most recent release, Wiggle Room, from Michele D'Amour and the Love Dealers and it's a cool mix of blues, pop and rock. Opening with Falling Down, a solid rocker with Patrick McDanel on driving bass, Jeff Cornell on guitar, Dave Delzotto on drums, Brian Olendorf on keys and Noel Barnes on sax, all supporting the lead vocal of Michele D'Amour. Shuffle track, Sweet Lovin Man showcases Michele's vocal work and a solid sax solo by Barnes. With its walking bass line, Nothing To No One has a solid melody and the somber trumpet lines of Greg Lyons set the track off nicely and highlights really nice piano lead by Olendorf. Rocker, Been So Long has great energy with slicing guitar riffs from Cornell and solid organ work by Olendorf. Worthy is a moody ballad with a particularly nice sax solo by Barnes. Wrapping the release is Hard Times, a definite pop/radio style track with a strong melody and instrumentation, a perfect closer for the set. - Bman's Blues Report 



A pianist and also a singer since she was a child, Michele D'Amour is one of the rising artists of the American Blues scene, having won the John Lennon Songwriting Competition's Grand Prix in 2017 and receiving three nominations at the Washington Blues Society Awards. in 2018, the singer and her band come back with a new album, the fourth one, with which they intend to confirm the good reception that they know with the media but also the public. Accompanied by Jeff Cornell on guitars, Patrick McDanel on bass, Dave Delzotto on drums, Brian Olendorf on keyboards and Noel Bornes on saxophones, backed up by brass, chorus and percussion, Michele D'Amour will focus on making us to penetrate into an album for which she chose to make a not insignificant use of shades coming from jazz but also from soul and swing. In a dozen tracks, the singer will strive to surprise us with music that is both sincere and luxurious, compositions that lead us to the most intimate New York clubs and who occasionally know tinged with Latin touches , rock or even gospel. Sometimes surprised, always seduced the listener will be carried away by pieces that borrowed from all that America counts of sounds and it is from a "Sweet Lovin Man" to a "Honey On The Side", a "Nothing To No One" to a "Been So Long" or a "Let It Slide" to a "He Can't Be Wrong" he will end up playing the game of an artist who knows how to handle his voice with a lot of talant to make it captivating. And always these melodies that rely on a guitar full of charm and parts of saxophone to give you the thrill ... Jazz lovers will feast but fade blues should not be left out. 

Zicazic (France) 9/13/18


"There is nothing like a good solid blues rhythm coupled with an amazing female voice that understands the true sound of the blues. Michele D’Amour and the Love Dealers have definitely learned those lessons, and turn in a worthy performance on this set of solid tunes that should be a case study for anyone interested in studying the art of the blues. They understand that there are different grooves for great blues music, and they have mastered all of those styles on this album. From the upbeat style of “No Good” to the slow sexy groove of “Trouble” and “All I do is Work” to the funky sound of “Leopard Lounge,” this band brings us some of the best blues we have heard this year. This is a band that should be the house band for any television show that features the blues, as they bring an authenticity to their sound not normally heard by today’s modern blues bands. Besides the aforementioned songs, we were also digging the sound of “Move on Down the Line,” “When the Blues Come Calling,” and “What the Cat Dragged In.” 

Recommendation: If you love the blues, you will love this album. We strongly urge you to Get it.

LA Music Critic, 9/20/2017


"Michele D’Amour grew up in West Seattle and from an early age found her future in music. At the age of six she was already quite skilled at both playing Piano and Singing, performing in her church choir. Michele also enjoyed writing from an early age and became a published poet in her late teens. Later, Michele earned her chops singing with several different local bands and writing her own music. 

Looking at each of the individuals in this wonderful group, it is easy to see that the natural chemistry and the enormous talent that make Michele D’Amour and the Love Dealers and their music phenomenal. Ronnie Bishop, the band’s Drummer, most recently known for his work with Michael Powers. Bishop has an impressive history of working with jazz and blues artists in the Seattle area and beyond. The Bands Bassist, Patrick McDanel started his music career as a professional trombone player before switching to bass. He has toured nationally and internationally with various bands. Ryan Higgins began playing the guitar at an early age and studied music theory in college. Today, he’s an accomplished singer, songwriter, and guitar slinger who brings his own twist to covers and enriches the original tunes. 

Michele D’Amour and the Love Dealers have released three CDs: Sin Comin’ On, in February 2014, with three original songs penned by Michele; Ante Up, comprised of ten originals written by Michele, in March 2015; and Lost Nights at the Leopard Lounge, in June 2017. The band enjoys performing for and interacting with audiences of all ages. 

Michele D’Amour and the Love Dealers’ third album is a celebration of the band’s fifth anniversary with a new crop of originals. The band worked with Grammy-winning engineer Steve Feasley on the recording. Lost Nights at the Leopard Lounge is a compilation of stories rooted in real life experiences and expressed through the blues tradition. “I am an avid collector of characters and stories,” says D’Amour. She also co-wrote two tracks, I Didn’t Know and Last Man Standing, with Cory Wilds. 

The song Leopard Lounge evolved from the band swapping anecdotes about colorful venues they’ve played and people they’ve seen; manifested in a fictional club that artist Tim Sutherland depicted in the album art. 

This album has the standard course of Blues ideology, but is far from “predictable” or “simple” the music has a natural flow and lyrically, Michele D’Amour is singing from the depths of her heart, a heart that knows both tribulation and triumph, the darkness that is loneliness and the glorious light of love. 

Other songs explore love gone wrong: Trouble; No Good; What the Cat Dragged In; and the anthem Last Man Standing. Move on Down the Line discusses when it’s time to get out of a bad situation; All I Do IsWork and Blue as Blue Can Get are songs for the downtrodden. 

In this Video for “Lost My Mojo” and Michele D’Amour describes, in her own words, the meaning behind the song. 

“Lost My Mojo “is my take on being a ‘woman of a certain age,’ laughs D’Amour.” 

“I Didn’t Know tackles the feeling of being disillusioned with the music scene, while When the Blues Come Calling is a light- hearted exploration of what it might be like if “the blues” behaved like a pesky house guest. Black Cat Boogie was originally written for children when the band played a series of summer family events, and has since been embraced by cat aficionados.” 

While researching this article, I found that throughout, Patrick McDanel on bass (Red Hot Blues Sisters), with the band since its inception; and with new addition Ronnie Bishop on drums (Michael Powers) they provide the band’s signature groove-oriented sound. Ryan Higgins joined as the band’s guitarist in fall 2016 and developed the signature licks for many of the tunes. McDanel and Higgins also contribute horn parts to two of the songs, and it wails sounds from soft and subtle to sexy and wild. Least we not forget, a singer that is as lovely as her voice, Michele D’Amour, whom brings it all together, and leaves us wanting more. 

There are bands that work well together, and some that work great together, Michele D’Amour and the Love Dealers work magic together. Check out their website and follow them on social media."

Indie Pulse Music, 8/27/17


"The Seattle-based ensemble Michele D’Amour and the Love Dealers have been on the scene since 2011, and have played numerous festivals and club dates all over the West Coast and were Washington Blues Society finalists for the 2014 I.B.C. Lead singer/songwriter D’Amour has been singing and writing songs since she was knee high to a grasshopper, and her bandmates (guitarist Ryan Higgins, bassist/trombonist Patrick McDanel, and drummers Ronnie Bishop and Rick Bowen) all boast impressive musical resumés themselves. 

Lost Nights at the Leopard Lounge is the band’s third release and it consists of 12 tracks, all written or co-written by D’Amour, that focus on contemporary blues, blues-rock, and R&B. Beginning with the crisp uptempo shuffle, “No Good,” the group ventures into smoky blues ballad territory with “Trouble,” which showcases some fluid, T-Bone-like fretwork from Higgins. “Leopard Lounge” is a funky rocker about a fictional club that encompasses stories the band shared from their experiences at various venues. 

“Move on Down the Line” keeps up the funk, with some sharp work on the bass from McDanel, but the band really outdoes itself on the funk with “Lost My Mojo,” D’Amour’s frank look at approaching middle age (McDaniel and Higgins double up on trombone and trumpet, respectively). “All I Do Is Work” is another slow blues with a hint of gospel thrown in for good measure, and “When the Blues Come Calling” is a strong R&B track. 

“I Didn’t Know,” “What the Cat Dragged In,” and “Last Man Standing” are straight-forward blues rockers, the latter with a bit of a southern rock feel, while “Blue as Blue Can Get” has a jazzy noir feel. The bonus track that closes the disc is the lighthearted shuffle “Black Cat Boogie.” This song was originally written when the band played a series of family-oriented summer events and has since become a fan favorite. 

Lost Nights at the Leopard Lounge is an entertaining disc of engaging songs and excellent performances that should appeal to any fans of contemporary blues with its mix of blues, R&B, rock and funk. Be sure to check out Michele D’Amour and the Love Dealers, should you venture to the upper West Coast and need to satisfy your blues fix."  Graham Clark, BluesBytes, 8/25/17


"For every band that headlines Lollapalooza, Burning Man or Coachella, there's more relegated to the side stages and tents. And for every festival, there are those groups that might make mention on the bill, plus those just working to get that kind of notice. 

The hardworking band is the one that plays the bars, vineyards, breweries and outdoor events, and its members aren't afraid to show up at open mics or jam sessions, despite lack of pay. That sometimes is how bands get made. 

Such a lineup comes out of the Seattle area, where Michele D'amour and the Love Dealers are to be found. Formed in 2011, they came about through those impromptu plays. "At the time," D'amour recalls, "I was singing in local blues jams, and the Seattle area has a plethora of those. My friend Rick Bowen approached me after getting to know me and said, 'You know, you should really have your own band.' To which I responded, 'Okay, but you have to be the drummer.'" 

D'amour then recruited Patrick McDanel to play bass, "because I knew that he worked well with Rick, and the two would lock in together really well, and that Patrick would bring that funkiness that I wanted for the sound." 

Sin Comin' On was the band's debut in 2014, followed by 2015's Ante Up. The Love Dealers have returned in 2017 with Lost Nights at the Leopard Lounge. From the start of "No Good," there is a serious groove, with roots in the blues and R&B. Ryan Higgins' lead guitar is stinging and distinctive, and the foursome cooks through D'amour originals that include "Lost My Mojo" and "Last Man Standing." Ronnie Bishop has replaced Bowen full time on drums, (Bowen did play on several of the tracks) and the reception has gone beyond the Pacific Northwest. 

"It has just amazed us all," D'amour says. "I'll buy a CD, and typically I like maybe three tracks from it, or maybe five. Our past CDs we would get airplay for a few of the tunes; all twelve of the songs from Lost Nights... are getting airplay, both terrestrial or Internet Radio, including Sirius/XM's Bluesville." 

And what of that title? "I liked the alliteration in the name Leopard Lounge," D'amour replies. "There are some Leopard Lounges throughout the world, certainly in the US. Where that song came from was, the band sort of swapping stories about some of the more colorful places we've played, the kinds of venues that have a storied past: where perhaps the venue a hundred or more years ago was a brothel, and then maybe it was a jail at one point, a dancehall, a disco in the seventies. And then you go to these places and kind of see that history, and the clientele have that kind of checkered past as well, and it's fascinating people watching. And so, we started swapping stories--every character, the pool shark, the mobster, those are characters we've encountered at least once, probably more than once. The stories in that song are all real, but we combined them into this once fictitious place.” 

When looking back at the previous recordings, D'amour considers the growth with Leopard Lounge. "I would say the songwriting is stronger," she says, "and this particular incarnation of the band I am really enjoying working with. I've always approached by band as being like family; so, we start off when we're going to rehearse with dinner, and then we rehearse or work on new material, and I just think the camaraderie between the members of the band is really coming through." 

Seattle's rich musical history is also noted. "People like Jimi Hendrix came from Seattle," D'amour reminds us, "and there is a very lively blues scene. Quincy Jones is also a Seattleite. Just about any weeknight you can find a jam within about a half an hour of where you live, probably more than one. 

'You get such great experience working with all sorts of different people, levels of musicianship. It's great training, especially for a bandleader to really own that song, count it off and know what key it's in, and be able to describe to the bass player and drummer what the groove is." 

D'amour's own musical background was rooted deep in her family, and encouraged. "My dad was an incredible fan of all kinds of music," remembers. "He had an extensive and eclectic collection, and I do mean vinyl. Everything from jazz, blues, reggae, the Rat Pack, show tunes, and he also liked some country; he liked Roger Miller and Willie Nelson. Those latter two are excellent lyricists, and so I was exposed to that." 

Then there was telling moment when Michele's parents had to know what they had on their hands: "Family legend has it when I was about five, five and a half," D'amour recalls with humor, "I hopped up at the piano bench and started playing the theme song from 'All in the Family' by ear." 

'Sometime later when I was about six I was very upset with my mother, I remember going to my room, tearing off a piece of drawing paper grabbing a purple colored drawing pencil and writing a song called my mom is so mean, and it went a little like 'Mannish Boy...'" 

D'amour sings for me a part of it with laughter to follow. "We sometimes perform a snippet of that," she says. "I used to get in trouble with my mother for singing songs at an early age that she thought were inappropriate, but she would be amused at the same time." 

Writing of songs took "a left turn," as D'amour continued, into poetry. She studied under Nelson Bentley, who taught at the University of Washington in Seattle, (his works includeThe Flying Oyster: The Collected Comic Apocalypses, Bellowing Ark Press). 

"He (Bentley) valued being a teacher more than anything," D'amour recalled, "and was so nurturing. (He) taught about imagery, and making the story come alive, but also writing with meter." 

'I was a published poet when I was in college," D'amour continued, "but once I turned to writing songs, the discipline was there. I've gotten more adventurous in terms of mixing up rhythms, and just getting a little bit more experimental while being firmly rooted in the blues tradition." 

D'amour has also paid attention to other writers, those from her past and present. "I loved Roger Miller and his sense of lyrics," D'amour says, "and even when he is writing something incredibly sad, there's a sense of humor to it. I grew up with a lot of that, and I will chuckle over a good lyric. I am enjoying Jason Ricci's CD right now, and some of the stuff he's doing is cracking me up!" 

When it comes to new generations of artists carrying the battle flag for the blues, D'amour sees the changes, but these are not just in personnel and the age of those playing it. "I think I'm too old to be in the new generation," she says with a laugh. "I do see some amazing players in their twenties and thirties who are picking up the blues. It isn't easy to be a full-time musician; I have a day job, but it affords me a lot of flexibility." 

D'amour see another issue, and it is partly economics: "I think this affects all genres right now," she says, "but what happens is, you've got these bars, and they want to have live music. So they get these bands comprised of people who work at a software company or whatever the big employer is regionally, and those guys want to play rock star for the night. Their day job is funding their work, they equipment, and so they'll play for nothing or for very little. The bar owner doesn't necessarily have enough discernment to tell between professionals and somebody who is dabbling. They'd rather book that band they don't have to pay. And when a professional band comes in, there's sticker shock. The other advantage, of course, is that, if you have a day job, you have coworkers and friends that will find it amusing to go out to see you play rock star. A lot of my friends are musicians, so they have their own gigs, and there's only so many gigs my family will come to because they do other things to do as well, so you have to work on building a following. That's tough to do; you have to find your niche, your people who get what you are trying to do." 

As for the future of the music, D'amour touches on how the blues especially has changed, but she does not think it's all bad. "I see it more as just that there's such a richness to the blues," she explains. "Blues-rock, soul blues, and years ago it would have been Chicago blues, Memphis blues, Piedmont, and now people stratify it even more. Then there are the blues purists who say blues-rock isn't blues. There are certain artists that people absolutely will not play who are more in the blues-rock genre. We get stratified typically into contemporary blues which I take to mean and this is based on what I've read, that it means that we are pushing the genre a bit, we are incorporating other elements perhaps from jazz, which is certainly the case for us, or rock into the blues, but it's still very much in the tradition." 

This, D'amour believes, with a firmness as solid as her experience: "I don't see any other genre that does not progress. Jazz progresses, hip-hop progresses, rock progresses, why shouldn't blues as well...if we were all playing stuff that sounds like Muddy Waters or like Howlin' Wolf's written it, what would be the point?" 

(The Love Dealers are on the road this fall, hitting familiar Seattle-area haunts in Olympia, Everett, and Townsend. They're also making inroads into California, with a string of shows through September, and will be in Oldtown, Idaho in late October.) " Tory Gates, Broadwayworld.com 8/23/17

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------Lost Nights at the Leopard Lounge

"Michele D’Amour and the Love Dealers is not one of the ordinary blues bands that is content with playing cover tunes at local clubs. In fact, after only a few years together they have played at many festivals, and they have already produced three albums. With each release they have included more of their own tunes, and this time all twelve tracks are originals. This year’s catalog addition, Lost Nights at the Leopard Lounge, is their best work so far. 

Ms. D’Amour, has been working towards this career for her entire life in her hometown of Seattle: she got a head start as a 6 year old piano prodigy, and Michele started singing at church and writing early too. This led to her fronting several local bands with plenty of opportunities to write and perform her own material. Five years ago she started the Love Dealers with bassist Patrick McDanel, and this was a fine start to building a solid team. 

For Lost Nights at the Leopard Lounge, Michele wrote all of these songs, with collaborative credit going to Cory Wilds for two of the tracks. She also handled the lead vocals, and joining her in the studio were McDanel on bass and newcomer Ryan Higgins on guitar; drumming duties were split between Ronnie Bishop and Rick Bowen. Grammy-winner Steve Feasley of Love Studios engineered the studio sessions, which took place in Seattle and Snohomish, Washington. 

There are a few Leopard Lounges around the country, but this album is not really referring to any of them. Rather, it is an imaginary amalgam of the cool clubs that the band has played in over the years. This makes an appropriate setting for the stories that are told through the songs, as many of them are based on experiences that the band has lived through. This is heard right from the start of the set, as the uptempo shuffle, “No Good,” lays down the details of a man who should have been born with “a pair of horns.” On this track Michele’s hearty alto voice is well suited to this guitar-fueled romp that features the tight backline of McDanel and Bishop. 

After the opener, the band switches things up for each subsequent track. “Trouble” is a slow blues tune with a personal feel that describes the effects of family-wrecking character, and Higgins delivers great lead guitar work that is almost jazz-like, accompanied by unique backing vocals that help make the mood. You will also find terrific imagery in the title track, as there are aspects of many bars in the “Leopard Lounge.” As you hear the band rock out and Michele sing about having to pay cash at the bar for your beer, you can also smell the bleach and sawdust! 

The Love Dealers also do a respectable job with funk, as McDanel lays down a raunchy and distorted bass line for “Lost My Mojo.” He also picks up his trombone as Higgins brings his trumpet to this song, which is an unexpected bit of texture that really makes this track shine. The band also combines funk with rock for “What the Cat Dragged In,” an ode to a man whose life is a complete mess. This tune changes tempo and feel a few times, and these breaks set the stage for some decidedly tasty guitar solo work from Bishop; this ends up being one of the more memorable tracks on the album. Then, before you know it, the set finishes up with one last shuffle, Black Cat Boogie,” and it is hard to believe that 43 minutes have gone by! 

Lost Nights at the Leopard Lounge is a strong album with good songs, talented musicians, and fabulous production from Steve Feasley. The songs have a clear and well-balanced sound, and though they cross many blues genres they work very well together. This material will transfer well to their live show, so be sure to head over to their website to see where Michele D’Amour and the Love Dealers are playing next. If you are located anywhere from the Pacific Northwest to Central California you are in luck, as they have plenty of shows scheduled, so check them out if you get the chance!"

Reviewer Rex Bartholomew is a Los Angeles-based writer and musician; his blog can be found at rexbass.blogspot.com. 



"Based out of Seattle, WA, Michele D’Amour and her band, The Love Dealers, have just released a stellar mix of twelve band  originals that cover a wide array of varying shades of blues.  “Lost Nights At The Leopard Lounge” has elements of Chicago blues, sophisticated jazz-tinged blues, boogie-woogie, and even some Southern-styled blues-rock. 

Michele has a soul-packed voice that can belt out a blueser or wrap itself around a ballad.  She’s joined by those Love Dealers–Patrick McDanel on bass and trombone, Ryan Higgins on guitar and trumpet, and drummers Ronnie Bishop and Rick Bowen. 

The festivities get off to a kick-@@@ start with a shufflin’ uptempo boogie about a lover who should have been born “with a pair of horns,” and is sho’ nuff “No Good.” Funky bass lines and Ryan’s wah-wah action drives the story of knowin’ when to hold and when to fold when a love goes bad, “Move On Down The Line.”  Things take a jazzy turn with the tale of a woman who’s “Blue As Blue Can Get,” but Michele offers up a shot of redemption by encouraging us all to, “When The Blues Come Calling,”  “be sure to invite them in and ask them to play,” for “it’s not the end of the world.” 

We had three favorites, too.  The set closes with a song that had its origins as a children’s song, but soon became a crowd favorite, as the “tail” of a house full of six black cats is the rockin’ good time of “Black Cat Boogie.”  Michele takes a look at trying to get one’s groove back with “Lost My Mojo,” and finds the best cure is to go see the neighborhood Hoodoo Man!”  And, the title cut is based on stories of places the band has played in or been exposed to, and “down at the Leopard Lounge, anything is for sale.” 

Michele D’Amour And The Love Dealers have played festival stages all over the Northwest, and they keep the good times rollin’ with the fine grooves you can only find at the “Lost Nights At The Leopard Lounge!”  Until next time…Sheryl and Don Crow, The Nashville Blues Society."

7/12/2017 Don and Sheryl's Blues Blog



"Seattle based Michele D’Amour And The Love Dealers burst on the blues scene back in 2011 and since that time they have been blowing away audiences throughout The Evergreen State and beyond. They have released EPs and full albums and built up a loyal fan base across the country. 

It’s obvious that they love the blues, hell, D’Amour wrote her first blues song when she was six years young and has been working on improving her writing and developing her vocals ever since. And don’t expect Michele and the Boys to get into one groove and stay there for an entire show, or even album. No, they like to mix things up a little, sampling different blues styles with equal expertise, and you’re going to enjoy them all. 

D’Amour is a prolific songwriter and wrote ten of the twelve tracks solo, and the remaining two, she co-wrote with Cory Wilds. She also handled all of the lead vocals and some of the backing vocals. She is joined by Patrick McDanel on bass, trombone, and backing vocals; Ryan Higgins on guitar and trumpet; and Ronnie Bishop on drums for five tracks, and Rick Bowen on drums for the remaining seven tracks. 

The album swings into action with the opening number, No Good. D’Amour has a good voice, she’s only using a slight edge on this number, but when she holds a note, watch out, she’s got some power. This is a promising start and I think this album just might turn out to be a good one. 

The follow up song, Trouble, is a slower number and D’Amour is in fine voice. She blends her blues with a jazz vibe and sounds amazing. I would love to see them play this one live as she opens up and you can really feel her emotions delivered in every note. 

The sort of title track, Leopard Lounge, is next. It’s a wild number and anyone who has been a working musician has played in clubs like this. D’Amour adds a nice touch of humor to the song and Higgins gets his guitar singing on the break. This is a fun song. 

After that foray into the world of wild clubs, D’Amour and the boys have some fun with the funky blues tune, Move On Down The Line. She has a cool edge on her voice for this song and this would be perfectly at home as a STAX song from the early ‘70’s. Blues purists may not gravitate to it right away, but I really like it a lot. 

The rhythm section gets a real workout on Lost My Mojo. This is the kind of song that is almost guaranteed to get an audience up on its feet and out on the dance floor. While some folks might not rush to put that on their playlist, it’s a cool song and it gives you a hint at the high energy performance that will be waiting for you when you catch the band live. 

While I think the title of the next song, All I Do Is Work, is a perfect description, my wife would surely disagree. This is a slow, smoldering number that really shows D’Amour’s vocal strength. I’m pretty sure I’ll be spinning this one on Time For The Blues before long. 

Things get swinging and funky on When The Blues Come Calling. Bowen does some great percussion on the song, it almost seems like he’s drumming with three hands at times. Higgins has a great guitar lead and the lyrics are tight. It’s a quick song and a strong one as well. 

I Didn’t Know starts out with a large sound, it’s almost like they aren’t a four-piece band at this point, but it’s because of D’Amour’s great voice and some serious tight bass lines from McDanel. The band is rocking hard on this number and firing on all cylinders. 

D’Amour and The Love Dealers get silky smooth for Blue As Blue Can Get. She borders on the jazzy chanteuse and this just might be my favorite song on the album. Her lyrics are solid, the guitar break exceptional, and the overall mood is one of quiet resignation. Love this tune. 

She gets back to rocking on What The Cat Dragged In. Her lyrics are pure blues, and her delivery is on point. It’s a cool number. She follows up with a psychedelic blues tune, Last Man Standing, that smokes and sounds like some of the great ‘60’s numbers that first experimented with the combining of the two genres. 

You might think that’s the end of the album, but the band has one more up their sleeve withBlack Cat Boogie. They show they’ve got some serious jazz combo chops. This has got to be a signature song for them, they do it so well. 

Michele D’Amour And The Love Dealers have got a sweet sound. Scratch that, they have several sweet sounds. They can rock with the best of them and then turn around with a lovely jazz sound, then get funky and lay down some tight dance tunes. I have the feeling that they can handle even more styles, but they still have the blues at their roots. 

I don’t know how much they travel outside of Seattle or The Pacific Northwest, but if they come anywhere near you, be sure to check them out. You can find Lost Nights At The Leopard Lounge at the usual sites, as well as their website,https://www.micheledamourandthelovedealers.com/, where you can also check out their travel itinerary."
- Professor Johnny P's Juke Joint, 07/02/17


"Led by the Seattle-based singer/ songwriter Michele D’Amour, this outfit has here a very fine blues set, their third album. Right from the excellent opener, the up tempo shuffle of ‘No Good’, the songs are all originals, intelligent and interesting, well sung by Michele whose voice is flexible and convincing, ranging from the strong slow blues of ‘Trouble’ to the ever-so slightly pop tinged ‘When The Blues Come Calling’. 

The Love Dealers themselves are a very tight three piece, with a rhythm section of Patrick McDanel on bass and Michael Powers drummer Ronnie Bishop powering things along, or coming over a little Latin-ish on ‘Blue As Blue Can Get’. 

Guitarist Ryan Higgins only joined the band in 2016 but he has a distinctive tone and approach, though firmly in the tradition. With the exception of his playing on the southern rock styled ‘Last Man Standing’ there is little rock or blues-rock influence, though he does employ a tough edge when necessary. His playing is always concise and relevant – listen to his delicate T-Bone Walker inflected solo on ‘Trouble’ for a good example. He and Patrick also supply the horn parts on two numbers. 

A band to watch out for, certainly on this evidence."  - Norman Darwen, Blues in the NW 06/06/17

Michele D'Amour and the Love Dealers' new release, 'Lost Nights at the Leopard Lounge,' is a soulful throwback to Chicago blues and the juke joints of the Mississippi Delta. D'Amour's voice can best be related to Bonnie Raitt, but there is a little Marcia Ball in her tone and the Love Dealers' expertly mixed blues soul and funk to give the new songs a little something extra for the listener. 

- Troy Michael, Innocent Words, 5/15/17

"MICHELE D'AMOUR & the Love Dealers/Lost Nights at the Leopard Lounge: A white girl from Seattle that somehow has become possessed by Koko Taylor, D'Amour keeps it tight and hard hitting whether she lays back or kicks ass. A solid crew that knows their way around modern electric and rocked up blues, this is a first class party on a platter that knows no bounds when it comes to how hard and far it can push. A stone good time throughout."  -- Chris Spector, Midwest Record


“The most poignant song is definitely "" Memory (For Mom) ", which is about the omissions associated with Alzheimer's disease. Then there is "Hurricane", a song that stands out for the Tex-Mex drive, an additional accordion and horns...” Eric Schuumans, Rootstime, 7/1/2015 

"I just received the newest release, Ante Up from Michele D'Amour and the Love Dealers and it's lively...New Orleans styled, Hurricane is probably a track that should go straight to the radio. It has a catchy melody, it's very danceable and fun vocally." Bman's Blues Report, 5/1/2015 

“Fronting this band of seasoned blues rascals is Michele D’Amour. With her smooth delivery she sets up for nice laid back journey through the heart of a blues soul. She can wind a tale of serious heartache or cut up over the blues “Dress Code”. I would recommend this band to those that like the blues genre. So with this gauntlet thrown down Michele and the Love Dealers challenge you to Ante Up and throw the current fad called Pop Music aside and listen to something real.” Music Reviews by Michael, 5/3/2015

“Loved it from the first drum beat... really good stuff -- had me boppin' & diggin' it from start to finish.” Facebook Musician's Registry, 2/20/2015