BY LEE ZIMMERMAN
You can be assured that anything Salim Nourallah is involved in is going to be of the most superior quality. As both an artist — on his own and as part of the brother act the Nourallah Brothers — and producer of the Old 97s in particular, he’s achieved consistent quality on every single outings. NHD, which finds him collaborating with singer/songwriters Alex Dezen and Billy Harvey, has no trouble sticking to that standard, as is evident from the first notes of the trio’s superior debut And the Devil Went Up to Portland. A surprisingly tender take on the Thin Lizzy gem “The Boys Are Back In Town” offers initial evidence, although it quickly becomes clear that the group need not depend on covers to exercise their prowess. The sweeping “I Sent a Postcard” and an unlikely narrative documenting a mugging, “Hello From an Emergency Room In Hollywood,” quickly deliver on that initial promise. Further gems await — the loping, Steve Earl-like “Devil’s Dice,” the insistent “Gimme a Go,” the wistful “Complicatedness” and the woozy, banjo-plucked “You’re the Light,” chief among them. Ultimately, it all adds up to an initial bow that is, in every regard, about as good as it gets. No exaggeration intended.
DOWNLOAD: “Hello From An Emergency Room In Hollywood,” “The Boys Are Back In Town,” I “Sent A Postcard”