18 October 2022
“If it were possible for Bob Seger and Stevie Nicks to have a musical love child, it might sound a bit like Tornado Sky. The L.A. two-piece features renowned songwriter Jerry Careaga and his wife, Stephanie Gladhart’ whose background has primarily been in the creative writing field. Although they have been collaborating informally for more than 20 years, “Deluge Of Hurt” is their first official album together.
The title track kicks the album into gear. Bluesy bottleneck guitar, wily bass. supple electric piano and a kinetic backbeat anchor this mid-tempo groover. Stephanie and Jerry’s vocals wraparound like honey and woodsmoke as they attempt to pick up the pieces of a failed romance; “How can I think of starting over when my heart’s still reeling from a deluge of hurt?”
Stephanie takes the lead on three tracks. Despite the breezy arrangement, the song is a bittersweet encomium to lost loved ones, as she wryly notes; “One window opens, one window closes, born to this life of tears and roses.” Meanwhile, “Am I Mighty” is a restless, twangy two-step that limns the dissatisfaction that bubbles over from an orderly and predictable life. Pondering the road not taken, she wonders “Am I the sapling, or a mighty tree?” Finally, the “Two Beat Up Hearts” traces a chance encounter at a bar between a pair of romance-weary strangers just looking for some emotional rescue.
Most of the songs here wrap indelible melodies around rich narratives that navigate the rocky shoals between love and loss. “The Well,” which is powered by panoramic pedal steel and fleet acoustic fretwork is just seeking comfort in a turbulent world. The Blues-inflected “Red Cloud Road” finds a former couple tentatively reconnecting, hoping for some common ground. “Somebody’s Looking Out For Me,” chronicles a bit of divine intervention. The album closes with the tender benediction of “Blow Me Away.”
Eleni P. Austin - I was born into a large, loud Greek family and spent my formative years in the Los Angeles enclaves of Laurel Canyon and Los Feliz. My mother moved us to the Palm Springs area just in time for puberty and Disco. I have spent over 40 years working in record stores, starting back in High School.
I wrote music reviews for the Desert Sun from 1983 to 1988. I began doing the same for the Coachella Valley Weekly in 2012.
I live in Palm Springs with my wife and our amazing dog, Denver.