Romi Mayes
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Romi Mayes

Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada | Established. Jan 01, 2002 | INDIE | AFM

Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada | INDIE | AFM
Established on Jan, 2002
Band Rock Roots




"Romi Mayes Lucky Tonight - Feature Review"

see link - Exclaim Magazine

"Romi Mayes Lucky Tonight"

see link - Baby Sue

"Romi Mayes Lucky Tonight"

see link - Alt Country - Netherlands

"Expect electric energy at Romi Mayes’s Edmonton show"

see link - Edmonton Journal

"A Magical Moment Revisited"

see link - Uptown Magazine

"Romi Mayes: Unscripted"

see link - Earshot

"Romi Mayes CD Lucky Tonight"

See link - No Depression

"No Depression - #12 of the year"

What this is, then, is an attempt at an audio essay. It is a collection of the songs which moved and entertained me this year. It's a reflection of whatever it is I'm drawn to in music. My chief concern was sequencing twenty songs into a coherent whole that linked to and commented upon itself and added up to some kind of commentary. It's all intuitive. Sorta.

There are jokes and smirks and idiosyncratic logic within this list, and you'll see some of it and guess at more and not care at all, that's my bet. But here 'tis. The internal rule is that the album has to have come out in 2007 (which I've broken, once, to my knowledge), and I'll only use one song per artist.

1. "Juarez" by Sam Baker (from Pretty World).
2. "Down In A Hole" by Jason Isbell (from Sirens Of The Ditch).
3. "Dry Town" by Miranda Lambert (a Gillian Welch song from Crazy Ex-Girlfriend).
4. "Drinkin' Problem" by Lori McKenna (from Unglamorous, with Tim McGraw on harmonies).
5. "Methamphetamine" by Son Volt (from The Search).
6. "Oxycontin Blues" by Steve Earle (from Washington Square Serenade).
7. "If I Were You" by Chris Knight (from the long-delayed Trailer Tapes).
8. "If You Catch Me Stealing" by Eilen Jewell (from Letters From Sinners & Strangers).
9. "Poor Old Dirt Farmer" by Levon Helm (from Dirt Farmer).
10. "Long Dark Night" by John Fogerty (from Revival).
11. "Rescue Me" by Tom Gillam (from Never Look Back).
12. "Bible" by Romi Mayes (from Sweet Somethin' Steady). I realize this came out in 2006 in Canada, and that if it was released at all in the States nobody much noticed. Which is a pity.
13. "99 And 1/2" by Mavis Staples (from We'll Never Turn Back).
14. "Come Over Here" by the Spirtulaires Of Hurtsboro, Alabama (from Singing Songs Of Praise).
15. "Helen" by the Cave Singers (from Invitation Songs).
16. "Gone Gone Gone (Done Moved On)" by Robert Plant & Alison Krauss (from Raising Sand).
17. "Rest Your Weary Mind" by Elizabeth Cook (with Bobby Bare Jr., from Balls).
18. "Blanket" by Gurf Morlix (with Patty Griffin on backing vocals, from Diamonds To Rust).
19. "Stay On The Ride" by Patty Griffin (from Children Running Through).
20. "Don't Cry A Tear" by Lyle Lovett & His Large Band (from It's Not Big It's Large).

I have toyed with explaining this more, and perhaps I'll come back and do so if there's any need. But for the moment, I'll let the music do the explaining.


- Grant Alden, No Depression

"Sweet Somethin Steady CD Review - Country Music News"

If you were around the Canadian music scene in the late 80’s and experienced the early buzz surrounding the music of k.d. lang (at least the excitement part of that phenomena); then get ready for another chapter of the same thing. Romi Mayes, a Winnipeg bred singer/songwriter has that same raw excitement and intensity to her music; and she keeps it totally rooted in ‘country’. If you want to put a label to this latest album of her recorded work…call it “Mainstreet Hillbilly”; and you won’t be too far off the mark in identifying the style.

Romi Mayes has written all eight songs on this new collection which has been dubbed The Living Room Sessions – Volume 1. (She has released previous works on albums by Off The Wagon, and Mayes & Carmichael). The material here covers a wide range – opening with a rippin’ humdinger in Styx & B.T.O. (Tease Me); then moving into a moody blues number in Ordinary Sunday; and then getting royally energized in Comin’ Home Soon, which features a Flatt & Scruggs-styled banjo intro and some sawing fiddle that would make Vassar Clements and John Hartford take notice.

The variety in the music and the songs is a key to the success here. On Mama Ain’t No Fool we get a haunting vocal delivery by Romi Mayes; and on the very next cut, Arkansas, it’s a rocky trip into Moonshine country. Out Of Touch again has a loneliness to the vocal and the song’s bare-bones acoustic arrangement (which is pretty much the norm for most of this) is especially effective. But Mayes doesn’t mellow out too much…she gets the toes a-tappin’ on Never Got You; and then closes out this all-too-brief collection of tunes with a terrific blues-driven tune in Drink Until Four, on which she is accompanied vocally by Jaxon Haldane.

In addition to Haldane’s vocal contribution and his banjo, dobro and guitar parts, the “temporarily employed” crew featured here include the superb lead guitar work of Chris Carmichael (two songs, Ordinary Sunday and Arkansas were both previously featured on the Mayes & Carmichael duet album); with Tom Fodey on bass, and Grant Siemens sitting in on lap steel. Also featured is the outstanding fiddle work of special guest Tania Elizabeth (of The Duhks, the Winnipeg-based band who contributed a track to the recent Grammy award-winning Stephen Foster Tribute album); whose work here puts the icing on the proverbial cake.

The album is sub-titled “Volume 1” … hopefully an indication that there’s lots more of this to come.

- Larry Delaney, Country Music News

"Sweet Somethin Steady - Maverick Magazine (UK) - 5 out of 5 stars!"

Rock edged country music fusing Americana with bar-room blues.

Romi Mayes has been quoted as being one of the hardest working independent singer/musicians in Canada, and at 33 years of age she is not going to slow down, in fact she is already planning her next album for release before the end of 2008.

She is a great guitarist as well as being a top-class songwriter, but it is her strongly emotive vocals that make her stand out ahead of the many singer-songwriter-musicians out there at the moment. Romi can be confused in love on Let Me Run, sounding uncertain about what to do in this wonderful ballad. But then on one of my favourite tracks on the album, The Other Dame, she is sexy and raunchy as she seduces you with a vocal delivery very much like Sheryl Crow. Her vocals are good enough to make this song a hit in my books, but the track is made even better (if that is possible) with some amazing beer bottle slide guitar from the album producer Gurf Morlix.

The title track Sweet Somethin’ Steady is very much a song for the ladies, it is a lively country tune with Romi’s wonderful vocals accompanied superbly by Romi and Chris Carmichael on acoustic guitars, as well as some mighty fine Dobro playing from Dan Walsh.

Dan Walsh shines again on the road song Eight More Days with some wonderful baritone guitar as well as some chain-sawing lap steel, and Romi delights again with her tormented vocals, sounding so much like Emmylou Harris.

Long Way Home is a jaunty waltz with Romi and Chris again showing their worth on the acoustic guitars, and the slower country waltz of On The Corner Of Grant And Alice is also quite splendid.

Another favourite track of mine has to be the album closer Bible, a great country ballad with Romi’s slightly bluesy vocals quite enchanting whilst Dan Walsh is again awesome on the slide guitar. Excellent album from one helluva good singer.

- Maverick Magazine - UK

"Romi Mayes - Sweet Somethin Steady - 10 out of 10!"



Romi Mayes: Sweet Somethin' Steady


I'm not quite sure exactly what they're doing over there in Canada, but they've certainly produced a lot of great singer/songwriters over the last decade or so. Not that I'm complaining mind you, because it's usually music that I really like, and Romi Mayes are certainly no exception. I understand that this album recently has been reissued by a bigger label, which ought to make it more accessible, and it is definitely worth seeking out.

Mayes music is solid roots rock with obvious influences from both country and blues, which places her in the same musical landscape as fellow country woman Kathleen Edwards and not least Lucinda Williams. On this album, non other than Gurf Morlix (whose collaborations include, amongst others, Lucinda Williams, Robert Earl Keen and Buddy Miller) has been in charge of production, which he handles as gallantly as ever. He also sits in with the excellent band she's assembled on a couple of songs, and the musical performance really is irreproachable.

But great musicians really are noting without great songs to play, but have no fear, Mayes turns out to be an exceptional songwriter. More often than not the music is a sort of slow shuffling country rock, with slightly dreamlike arrangements with sweeping steel and electric guitars upfront, not entirely unlike another great Canadian songwriter, Justin Rutledge. Just like him, she has the ability to write evocative songs that really grabs a hold of the listener, which alongside honest and soulful lyrics provides a listening experience that really evokes the emotions of the listener.

The themes in the lyrics are familiar, but are in no way laden with clichés, but are instead honest and entertaining reflections on longing, loneliness, love and lust. The opener Eight More Days is a somewhat blues infused song about life on the road and longing for home that seems to be entirely sincere and based on personal experiences. Desperately is a low key, melancholy ballad that states that it is in fact okay to occasionally need someone; just 'cuz I'm strong, don't mean that I'm happy/just 'cuz you're wrong, don't mean that I can't be…just 'cuz I'm here don't mean I ain't empty/you just call me dear and I'll give you plenty.

Even sparser is the acoustic, bittersweet ballad Angeline that tells a story of how a relationship that has been dead for a long time still can cause pain; I guess I knew we wouldn't make it/but what do I do with all these tears. More on broken relationships can be heard in the hauling country rock of Let Me Run, this time however questioning whether saying goodbye really was the right thing to do. More tempo and guitars with more bite is served up in the smoking blues rock of The Other Dame, where loneliness and lust are tackled in a more hands on approach; I am righteous but I'm randy/your love tastes like candy/bring it on. The title-track covers more on the same subject, love doesn't necessarily have to be taken so seriously; don't need to hear you love me while you look deeply in my eyes/why can't you be me sweet somethin' steady inside.

Mayes deliver these stories in a voice that is both warm and soulful, a sort of mixture with a just a hint of Lucinda Williams rasp and a big dash of Danni Leighs honey-coated sensualism. It goes, just as her music and lyrics, straight for the heart and together they make this a very special occurrence, where every song feels like an almost indispensable experience that makes me want to listen to them over and over again. This album is quite simply a masterpiece, and as such it should be consider essential for everyone who likes rootsy singer/songwriters.

- Magnifik Music - Sweden


Devil On Both Shoulders - May 2015
Lucky Tonight - 2011
Achin In Yer Bones - 2009
Sweet Somethin' Steady - 2006
Romi Mayes and The Temporarily Employed: The Living Room Sessions VOLUME ONE - 2005
Mayes and Carmichael - 2004
On The Road - 2002
Off The Wagon - 1997



If you haven't heard Romi Mayes' music yet, it's time you do.

Hailing from the prairies of Canada, Mayes is one of the hardest working independent musicians touring the globe today.

Devil On Both Shoulders', her 6th full-length release, is another testament to why Romi Mayes’ past albums have garnered three Western Canadian Music Awards for Songwriter of the Year, two Western Canadian Music Awards for Album of The Year, a Juno nomination for Album of the Year, and various Canadian Music Award nominations.

Mayes is known for her powerful lyrical ability that gives life to the words she sings. Her insightful sweet and edgy vocals paint pictures of heart on her sleeve sincerity and a road well travelled. The talented players that surround her are another confirmation of how her honest abilities draw the best of the best toward her authentic brand of roots music.

She has relentlessly toured Canada, US, Europe, UK, and has shared the stage with the likes of Levon Helm, Derek Trucks, Ricky Skaggs, Jim Cuddy, Gordie Johnson, Guy Clark, Sue Foley, Fred Eaglesmith, Corb Lund, Blackie and The Rodeo Kings, and many more.

Mayes continues to bring her brilliant songs, impressive guitar skills, and passionate performances to stages across the globe. With no intention of burning out or fading away, Romi Mayes has proven she is here to stay.

Band Members