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Music Review - `Dream Girl` by Juliet Simmons Dinallo (jh)

Juliet Simmons Dinallo -  Dream Girl  (click on image to watch video)

26 April 2019 


Juliet Simmons Dinallo is a country/roots singer that originally hails from the Maine and Boston areas but now resides in East Nashville. Dream Girl, her second release, though, was recorded in Medford, MA with production by her husband, Michael Dinallo, and Ducky Carlisle, known as the Tremolo Twins. Juliet proves to be warm, versatile, thoughtful and charming on this well-produced effort. She playfully describes her wide-ranging, principally Americana style as “Boston roots and cowgirl boots” and draws from artists like Emmylou Harris, Shelby Lynne and Dusty Springfield. Given the blues aspects of her style, heard here on “Tennessee” and “Curious George,” she may be a little closer to the latter two. It’s clear though that Dinallo is forming her own style, through some recent changes in her life. It took her some time after graduating from Boston’s esteemed Berklee College of Music and her second marriage to find her footing, but she’s put both feet down on this one.

The album speaks to transitions be they moving, parenting, or getting older. The Roy Orbison (Traveling Wilburys vintage) inspired title track is about their daughter who was a year and half old when Dinallo penned the song where the daughter views the world from her perspective. She embraces some of the aspects of her newfound South in the waltz “Moonshine and Sweet Tea” (featuring Shad Cobb on fiddle and Tim Carter on mandolin), triggered by a trip to Nashville several years ago. Cobb and Carter also bring the hard twang to “Don’t Get Much.”

She has a penchant not only for the country roots sounds associated with Nashville but for the R&B and group singing from Memphis too. In a sense, the album alternates between those two vibes, both represented in “Tennessee.” Juliet enlisted two other vocalists from Boston, Amber Casares and Anita Suhanin, to sing with her. The blend is reminiscent of the Staple Singers at times (“Until I Go”) or the Trio album (“Moonshine and Sweet Tea”) with Dolly, Emmylou, and Linda. Tim Carter (who is a direct link to

The Carter Family) recorded the mandolin, fiddle, and banjo at his home studio. Juliet credits producers Dinallo and Carlisle with bringing the soul elements to the proceedings. The song most directly focused on transitions is the Memphis-styled horn-driven “The Abyss,” a song about facing fears and staring them down. It’s an older song that precedes her first album, at a time when she was scared to perform in public. Among other highlights are “Someone for You” (a song that was originally written for a friend’s wedding), and the most serious and saddest song on the disc, “Fly (Prayer for Sandy Hook),” which displays the nuances in her vocal delivery framed by a lush string arrangement. 

Like that one, most of the album’s musical backing glides along smoothly except the Stones-like “Curious George,” about spoiled rich kids who never change as they grow up, with the line “what their money won’t buy.” Dinallo channels Memphis again on “Until I Go” featuring tremolo guitar, Charlie Rich -like piano and a soul-driven string arrangement.

 At first, listening to Dinallo conjures up many singers that seem familiar but as the album unfolds you further appreciate her beautiful voice and gift for songwriting. Soon, it’s clear that Dinallo stands apart.


Jim Hynes



Jim Hynes is an independent contributor on music for several magazines, including Elmore and Country Standard Time. He has also written for Variety. He was a listener-supported public station(s) radio host for 25 years in CT, MI, NJ and PA. He is also a Live music host/Emcee at several national and regional venues.

To Read All of Jim's Reviews, Click Here




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