Ominé’s debut album, Whiskey & Chocolate, lives up to the long wait.
For over 18 years, Ominé Eager has been writing and performing heartfelt, original songs. Each one is a true story told eloquently and honestly. She has been an enigma and a mainstay on the Miami music scene, fighting for the rights and opportunities of all local musicians to have a place to play and be appreciated.
And if you were to ask her why it took nearly two decades for her first album to be released, Ominé would just say, “Life gets in the way.”
Well, life also seems to have a way of bringing things to fruition. And in this case, it was the collaboration between Ominé and Fernando Perdomo, whose Forward Motion Records has been quickly churning out gems by such local acts as Jill Hartman and Arboles Libres.
Perdomo’s vision, musicianship, and recording expertise combines incredibly well with Omine’s deep, expressive vocal delivery. Mind you, these songs have been performed acoustically for almost two decades. And now there are a lot of electric guitar parts reminiscent of the ’80s and ’90s. Yet the songs are strong enough for the whole album to still land solidly on its feet.
Coming out of the gate with the funky rock tune, “Knock”, it’s instantly clear that this isn’t going to be a typical singer-songwriter effort.”Suitcase” is a hypnotizing bluesy song-story of homelessness. Dripping with Perdomo’s signature slide-guitar riffs and a chorus that will stick in your mind, it demonstrates the range and depth of this collaboration. Meanwhile, the Pretenders-esque “Hail Mary” is a tale of being 12 years old and living with the reprimands of Catholic school and church. Child Ominé asks, “Is it a sin to push down my sister, and give her a bloody nose?”
The only cover on this record is Neil Young’s “Heart of Gold.” A bit uninspired and misplaced, it’s the only tune that doesn’t really hold the listener.
The greatest triumph on this belated and anticipated release is “Rainbow Eyes.” It’s a song about Ominé’s father Allen Eager, an accomplished and notorious jazz saxophonist in the ’50s. Having played with all the greats, his heroin addiction was his great downfall and a heavy burden on Ominé’s psyche. Knowing this, Perdomo produced a musical magic trick for both Ominé and the listener. He painstakingly went back to her father’s old recordings and cut in saxophone licks to haunting effect.
The depth and quality of Omine’s Whiskey & Chocolate makes this latest Forward Motion Records release a total pleasure. Let’s just hope it doesn’t take her another 18 years for her next one.
– Eric Garcia