CD Review: Brother Chunky “Down Low”

Posted: March 31, 2018 in Music
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Brother ChunkyBrother Chunky is the stage name of Utah-based singer-songwriter Michael Barclay. The moniker started because of a band that Barclay and some friends formed earlier in his youth. The band, simply titled “Chunky,” created music that blended together “Funk, Punk and Junk”. Barclay carried that musical blend on after that band was finished, with a slight variation to it. And now as a solo act, Barclay uses the name as part of his own.

As a solo artist, Brother Chunky carries on the musical tradition started with his original band.  For the group, Michael Barclay is joined by an entire group of musicians who bring to life the music of Brother Chunky.  The resulting “Funk, Punk and Junk” style created by the band can be found on the two albums of music released under the Brother Chunky moniker- 2013’s And Stuff and 2018’s Down Low. The rest of the musicians for the Down Low album are: Guitar- Chris Henderson, Drums/Bass/Percussion- Adam Holdaway, Bass- Kyle McCann, Harmonica- Brad Wheeler, and Drums- Zac Bryant with Morgan Whitney on Backing Vocals.

Down Low from Brother Chunky begins with the track “Chunky Blues”. The lead-off track blends together a good amount of the Blues with a generous amount of Rock and Roll. The result is a rather Bluesy track with plenty of backbone. While it does contain that rock and Roll influence, the track’s musical approach puts to use a musical approach that is reminiscent of classic Blues songs.

Michael Barclay and the rest of the band slow things down on the album’s title track. “Down Low” has a solid Blues approach. The music of the track brings to mind the harder Blues feel of someone like Stevie Ray Vaughan who adds plenty of energy to the classic Blues sound. “Down Low” is easily one of the hardest rockin’ tracks on the album.

The next track on the album is the one and only track on the release not written by Michael Barclay. The track “Deep Ellum Blues” is one of the tracks that were made famous by Jerry Garcia and the rest of The Grateful Dead. With this track, Brother Chunky stays rather close to the original feel of the track. But with the fact that Brother Chunky’s sound contains a lot of Funk influence to it, so too, does his version of the song. The Brother Chunky version of the song takes the feel of the track and bumps it up a notch.

On the track “Little Man,” Michael Barclay and the band create a track that takes the album in yet another direction. “Little Man” features lyrics about a man with something to prove. The Blues-Rock that fills this track brings to mind the sound and feel of ZZ Top. The driving feel of the music helps to create one of the strongest tracks on the album. The high energy feel to the music seems to go well with the lyrics about proving yourself.

With the track “Get on Down the Road,” the band once again creates a song with a very strong groove to it. The Bluesy feel to the music, mixed with a driving feel to pace forms a track that feels just right for those long drives on the highway when speed is your friend. The track also contains some of the most powerful playing from Barclay. The song features a rather strong guitar solo near the end of the track. “Get on Down the Road” is a track off of Down Low from Brother Chunky that will get your blood pumping.

The new album from Brother Chunky comes to a close with the track “Resignation Letter”. The song features a slightly lighter approach on the Rock side of the musical blend. As the song travels at a steady pace, Michael Barclay makes it clear that he’s had enough. The song about bringing a certain type of relationship to a close seems just right to end the album with.

Down Low, the new album from Brother Chunky contains ten tracks of music that focus mainly on a musical blend that contains a large amount of Blues flavor mixed with other styles. Throughout the album, Michael Barclay and the rest of the band create music that never gets tiring.

For a taste of the music from Brother Chunky, check out the title track from the album Down Low

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