Making transitions is never easy, and the way Juliet Simmons Dinallo expresses the ups and downs of the human process of moving, changing and growing older is the joy of listening to Dream Girl. There’s tension here, and unresolved matters of the heart and soul: “I don’t have all the answers,” goes one song, and another finds the narrator driving from Nashville to Memphis, accompanied by a groove that evokes the sweet-and-sour styles of both cities. Juliet Simmons Dinallo and Michael Dinallo, who collaborated on three of the songs here (Juliet wrote the rest) sound as though they’re in love with the music of the South, but they’re also in love with the possibilities of transition that soul music has always laid out so eloquently. The terse, direct music supports Juliet’s songs, which acknowledge the blues but make room for the pleasure of the everyday, the quotidian. Some of the pleasures of Dream Girl lie in the interplay of elegantly restrained string arrangements, just-right, gritty guitar solos, and Juliet’s soulfully gliding vocals. Producers Michael Dinallo and Ducky Carlisle bring the bite of soul music to the enterprise, and Dream Girl glides over rough terrain with sure feet. It’s a record that both digs deeply into the dream world of change and the real world that never stays the same.
-Edd Hurt, Nashville TN, December 2015