Posts Tagged ‘funk’

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

Two Cities One WorldSometimes to find true love, one must do a little traveling. And sometimes, it takes going to a location half a world away.

This happened with Anna Yanova, a Bulgarian-born singer-songwriter. When she was attending the Musicians Institute in Hollywood to refine her talents, she met up with Jared Cattoor, a St. Louis-bred guitarist who, in his own way, was also there to refine his talents. Together, they met and fell in love, only to end up getting married.

With Anna Yanova already creating and releasing a solo release, her music caught the ear of Cattoor and the two soon started creating music together. Because of whom they were before they ended up meeting, and since they had a shared interest in music, the duo created one musical project with a very apropos moniker. Together, Cattoor and Yanova are known by the name of Two Cities, One World.

With Jared Cattoor being American and Anna Yanova being Bulgarian, the music of Two Cities, One World incorporates several different styles of music to create a very multi-faceted sound that is truly international. Having already released one EP entitled Together back in 2014, the duo is currently celebrating their new album of original material. The newest release from Two Cities, One World is entitled Let the Whole World Disappear.

Let the Whole World Disappear from Two Cities, One World begins with the track “I See the Sun”. The track features a lyrical content that seems to suggest a very biographical approach as the words reflect the view of two people from different worlds being connected by just looking at the same sun in the sky. The musical approach has a very “pop-like” approach with some pop-rock flavor and plenty of jazz influence. The vocals from Anna Yanova also add to the jazzy feel of the music. The gentle feel of the smooth jazz-like music will be very accessible to a lot of people whose musical tastes vary widely.

The new release from Two Cities, One World continues with the track “Suga Daddy”. Bringing back some of the jazzy influence from the last track, “Suga Daddy” takes that jazz style and blends it with plenty of Funk flavor. While the last track contains an easy feel to the music, this track has a lot more energy. One element that helps to differentiate the first two tracks from each other is the inclusion of the electric guitar in “Suga Daddy”. That guitar playing shows off the talent of Jared Cattoor who adds a Carlos Santana-like feel to the music.

With the inclusion of many styles of music, Two Cities, One World creates music that could easily be categorized as “World Music”. To prove that categorization, the duo of Yanova and Cattoor include a bit of Yanova’s ethnic background in the album. The track “Footprints (Sledi)” contains a somewhat Hispanic approach to the music as well as the use of the Bulgarian language for the lyrics. The combination of the two different nationalities creates a very unique track that contains a very strong danceable feel to the music. “Footprints (Sledi)” could easily be a crossover candidate that would feel right at home in dance clubs in the U.S. and all over the world.

The duo creates one of the strongest moments on the Let the Whole World Disappear album with the track “Love Blues”. Although the track contains a certain amount of Blues influence, the song is as upbeat as anything else that came before. And just like “I See the Sun” that helped kick the release off, “Love Blues” is yet another track that feels like a love letter set to music. With the inclusion of horns on the track, the song is one track with a very wide amount of influences to its music.

As the Let the Whole World Disappear album continues, Yanova and Cattoor and the rest of Two Cities, One World changes the feel of the music from track-to-track. And while the previous tracks contained many different styles, the “title track” “Disappear” takes the music in yet another completely different direction. Keeping with the jazz influence that has weaved its way through most of the beginning of the album, the song “Disappear” combines the jazz with some light R&B to create a track that would feel just as welcome on a Smooth Jazz radio format as it would on a “Hip Hop and R&B” radio format.

Throughout the twelve tracks that make up the Let the Whole World Disappear album from Two Cities, One World, the music changes many times. Just when you get used to one feel or approach to the music, the duo of Anna Yanova and Jared Cattoor switches things up. From one track to the next, the release sounds like an entire radio dial on one release. This is truly an album for anyone and everyone.

For a taste of Two Cities, One World and their music, check out the video for the song “Suga Daddy“.

 

dollfaceWhen you combine a multi-talented musician that has a very soulful voice of an R&B diva with other musicians who help to bring her musical vision to life, you end up with a band that blends jazz, R&B and even a little Indie Rock together. The result is a musical outfit by the name of Hello, Dollface. The ensemble consists of singer/guitarist/keyboard player and songwriter Ashley Edwards, bassist/keyboard player Jesse Ogle and keyboard player Easton Stuard. Together with drummer James A. Morrow, the band of Hello, Dollface created the 2016 release entitled Warrior of Light.

Warrior of Light from Hello, Dollface begins with “Movin’ Me”. The slow-tempoed track features a blend of Jazz and R&B. Along with the slow tempo, the song comes across as relatively relaxed as the band plays the music of the song with simplicity. The result is a track that allows the vocals from Ashley Edwards to shine. The style and feel of the music takes the listener back to the seventies where a lot of the music back then had a much lighter and more relaxed feel to it. And while there is a slightly dated feel to the music in the song, “Movin’ Me” would easily fit any modern-day Smooth Jazz radio format.

The 2016 release from Hello, Dollface continues with one of the definite standout tracks. The song “Intuition” hits you with a sound that immediately catches your attention. The song’s music combines a very strong R&B feel with a little Indie Rock style thrown in. Along with the vocals from Ashley Edwards, the track has a style that seems to have been influences, if only a little bit, by the Indie Rock band Zero 7. “Intuition” is one song on the release that will stay with you long after the album has come to an end.

Hello, Dollface’s new release continues with the album’s title track. “Warrior of Light’s” Smooth Jazz approach comes courtesy of the guitar, bass and drums from Ashley Edwards, Jesse Ogle and James A. Morrow. Together, the trio creates a track that has a solid classic jazz feel. The inclusion of the organ on the track helps to add some texture, but it is the guitar, bass and drums that truly bring the majority of the song to life. Edwards’ vocals also give “Warrior of Light” a very infectious sound while the vocal arrangement creates one of the most unique moments on the release.

On the song of “Test Crash,” Hello, Dollface takes their sound in a much different direction than any of the songs that had preceded it on the album. On the songs that led off the Warrior of Light album, the band focused on a style that incorporated a lot of Jazz and R&B influence. But with the track “Test Crash,” the ensemble fully embraces the Indie rock side of their personality. And even though “Test Crash” is still rather laidback, the Indie Rock influence incorporated into the song helps to create a totally different vibe than when compared to the previous songs.

Staying in the mindset of creating a track with a different feel to it, Hello, Dollface changes the feel of their release once again on “Face It”. Together, Edwards, Ogle, Stuard and Morrow create a song that brings out the Soul influence in the band’s sound. In fact, “Face It” is easily the most soulful track on the release. The quartet even incorporates some Reggae influence to add even more texture to the song’s music. The whole thing is brought together with the addition of guitarist Tim McLaughlin who adds a very strong solo to the track. “Face It” is another track on the release that stands out.

Just like “Intuition” from earlier in the album, the song “Carry Me” is another song that comes across as being very infectious. The song’s sound once again brings out the band’s Soul influence. But unlike the track “Face It” that contained mostly that Soul influence, “Carry Me” is equal parts Soul and R&B. The track contains a radio-friendly sound that will immediately jump out at the listener and beg to be heard. “Carry Me” is easily one of the best moments on the Warrior of Light release from Hello, Dollface.

The 2016 release of Warrior of Light from Hello, Dollface comes to a close with “In Your Light”. The song begins with keyboards that create a light Jazz feel. The rest of the instruments join in a little later to help fill out the sound of the track. And while the song is mostly Jazz-based, the music does contain a light influence from Indie Rock to give “In Your Light” a unique feel when compared to the rest of the album. The bass part from Jesse Ogle and the piano create a catchy musical phrasing within the piece that gets repeated, adding yet another infectious quality to part of the track. “In Your Light” brings the release to a close on a rather gentle tone, but the song still catches your ear as it fades the release out.

Throughout the ten tracks that make up the 2016 release from Hello, Dollface entitled Warrior of Light, the listener encounters songs that incorporate many different styles of music that help to create the laidback feel of the band’s sound. Warrior of Light is a strong release with plenty of musical moments that will please the type of listener who looks for strong songwriting and musicianship in the type of music that they add to their musical library. Each track on the release comes with its own style, but the ten tracks all combine to create one album of music that has a certain familiarity from beginning to end.

For more on the band, check out Hello, Dollface’s video to the track “Intuition“. 

For more information, check out the band’s PR firm, XO Publicity

Painted on Water is a new rock outfit made up of composer/guitarist/producer Demir Demirkan and vocalist Sertab Erener, both of Turkish descent. Based in Chicago, the two musicians bring together many different musical influences to create a sound that is very eclectic. The band’s sound incorporates rock, electronica, funk and several other styles to make something unique and fresh. While having already put out a few releases, the duo has just recently created a new release entitled Chicago Issue.

The band’s EP begins with the track “I Need You Most”. The beginning track incorporates a lot of rock feel, some blues and a lot of electronic sound into one musical package.  “I Need You Most” comes to life with the inclusion of a strong guitar part that helps to drive the music of the track. The use of the Talk Box on the track by Painted on Water’s Demir Demirkan helps to add some really interesting rock feel to the song, as well. The various different genres of music come together in the track to help create a song that features many different facets and has plenty of energy. The strong track gives the listener a strong reason to continue on and see what else the duo has to offer.

After “I Need You Most,” Chicago Issue from Painted on Water continues with the track “A New Me”. While the song “I Need You Most” features a strong blues-based feel to the music, “A New Me” has a very strong funk vibe to it. It’s that Funk vibe that truly takes over the feel of the duo’s music on this song. The funk of the song mixes well with the rock feel of the duo’s music. That combination creates a track that is as funky as it is catchy. If it wasn’t for the energy the music gives off, you would almost classify the song under “pop”. But calling the sound of “A New Me” as “pop” is definitely not the right description for the song; especially since the song has as much rock feel to it as it has the funk feel to it. Together, the rock, funk and pop influences ultimately come together to create the EP’s strongest track.

While “A New Me” is probably the strongest track on Chicago Issue from Painted on Water, the song “Hating You Loving You” is the track with the most emotion to its lyrics. The lyrics deal with a woman caught in a relationship that may not be the best for her but she doesn’t want to give it up. The music of the song has a slightly slower pace to it than the first two tracks. However, that slower pace does not take any of the energy away from the music of the song. The energetic music and the emotional lyrics create a song that can only be described as a “power ballad”. The resulting track’s music and the powerful lyrics create a track that is very catchy and memorable; you’ll easily find yourself singing along with the lyrics before the end of the track.

On the next track on the release, “Why Do You Love Me,” the duo of Demir Demirkan and Sertab Erener remove the ballad part of the “Power Ballad” and create a song that finds the singer once again questioning her relationship. While “Hating You Loving Me” contains some beauty in the music of the track, the song “Why Do You Love Me” is a straight-out rocker. The track starts off with Sertab Erener singing about the use of words instead of using actions to show the love for someone. The energy in the music helps add power to the words of the singer who demands proof of her lover’s affection. What ends up being created is one of the least affectionate tracks but the track is still one of the strongest songs on the release.

Chicago Issue from Painted on Water comes to an end with the song “Despite Ourselves”. The vocals from Sertab Erener are matched with a quiet, easy keyboard sound that helps the track begin with an easy pace. Soon, however, the song takes on a sound and style that will immediately remind the listener of something that would have come from the band Evanescence. The Alternative Rock song proves that composer/guitarist/producer Demir Demirkan and vocalist Sertab Erener are very versatile as the final track of Chicago Issue sounds nothing like the rest of the release.

Chicago Issue from Painted on Water is a very strong five-song EP from two musicians of Turkish descent who now make their homes in Chicago. The EP changes sounds and styles throughout the five tracks and keeps the listener wanting more. If this is just a hint of what the duo can do, here’s to more.

 

Reviewer: Matheson Kamin
Rating: **** (four stars)

Click HERE for the music of Painted on Water.

What do you get when you combine rock, funk, classical and opera with a musician that was born in Italy but is now living in the United States? You get a musician who calls himself The Venetian.

After coming to the United States, The Venetian formed a music trio that goes by his nom de plume. The rest of the trio is composed of Luca Spanio on bass and Kevin Witucky on drums and percussion. It is this musical outfit that is currently promoting an album of music that combines the previously mentioned musical genres into one unique sound. This 2011 album from The Venetian is called I Wanna Tell You a Story.

I Wanna Tell You a Story is a very apropos title for this release as the album is one of those rare releases called a “rock opera” just like A Night at the Opera by Queen or Tommy by The Who. And like those releases (and the regular operas) that came before, I Wanna Tell You a Story is divided into acts, each telling a part of the story.

The album begins with the track called “Act 1”. Sung in Italian (like the rest of the tracks that introduce the other acts of the opera), The Venetian sings the words of the track in a very operatic style, which only adds to the “opera” part of this rock opera. The piano being played by The Venetian adds a lot of beauty to the track.

It is on the second track of the album that the rock part of the rock opera comes through. The rock music that is contained within the song “Goodbye”has a lot of British Invasion influence to it while also containing just the right amount of classical feel to it. The combination of all of the elements that went into creating the song makes for one fun track.

For the track “The Black Cat,” the band takes the British Invasion influence and adds some blues feel to it. The song starts off somewhat mellow, but once the song gets going, the band settles into a groove that makes the listener want to dance to the music.

On the song “Sometimes,” the band breaks out a little funk influence in the band’s rock music. And while it is not that big an influence, the funk part of the song gives “Sometimes” an interesting twist and sets it apart from the rest of the songs on the album.

“Dancing Angel” is the track that the most amount of things to like about: From the rock base with the sideshow organ to the beautiful female vocals and the driving force of the music, you will find the song growing on you. “Dancing Angel” is easily the best track from the I Wanna Tell You a Story release from The Venetian.

“My Sweet Italian Pie” is easily the hardest rockin’ song of all of the tracks on the album. The groove created by the three musicians in the band and the guitar solos from The Venetian on the song nearly set your music player on fire.

While the title track of the album comes very late in the release,“I Wanna Tell You a Story” is as good as any of the songs that make up the first half of the release. In fact, it is on this track that the band lets loose. Because of that, the track is one of the entertaining on the album.

Speaking of letting loose, the track “Soft Snow” is an instrumental track that really shows off the talents of the musicians in the trio.

One bit of warning: The Venetian comes from Italy; because of that, it is sometimes difficult to understand him because of his accent.

Don’t let that stop you, though. The I Wanna Tell You a Story album from The Venetian contains more than enough reasons to check it out as the writing and playing of the three musicians involved have blended together to create a release that just plain fun to listen to.

Click the link for the video to the song “Soft Snow

Singer-songwriter Scott Smith left Charleston, South Carolina because of a personal reason and moved to the Cleveland area. That same reason made Scott leave a few months ago after spending 3 years as a resident in the area. During the time he was here, Scott played at several of the area’s smaller venues where he would perfect songs he was writing. As a result of Smith expanding his songbook to include his own compositions, he ended up with enough songs to create an album. It is this group of songs that make up his new 2007 album, Quicksand Remedies.

Quicksand Remedies was recorded by Scott while he was in transition between leaving Cleveland and relocating back to Charleston. The album was produced by another local musician, Joe Rohan. Along with Rohan and co-producer Curt Leonard adding their musical touches to the release, it also features some of Cleveland’s best musicians backing Scott up. The inclusion of these talented individuals in the recording process of Scott Smith’s new album ended up making the release full-bodied and varied from track-to-track.

Because Scott Smith incorporates many different musical genres into his writing including jazz,  funk and even hip hop, Quicksand Remedies provides the listener with just a snapshot of what Scott’s sound is like. For instance, on tracks like “Parking Lot” and “Lively,” Scott lets out his reggae side and shows you what he was known for down in Charleston before he started writing his own music. Other songs like “Comin’ Round” and “G Funk” show Scott’s funky side.

Most of the songs on Quicksand Remedies are fleshed-out versions of stuff that Scott has been playing solo for years in the Cleveland area. However, there are songs like “Quicksand” and “Pocket” that show off Scott by allowing the listener to hear what those of us who followed Scott here in Cleveland have known for years: He is just as talented and entertaining when he is alone with just his guitar.

One of the best examples of what Scott sounds like live is displayed on his song, “The Flight”. “The Flight” is a Michael Hedges-inspired song that features Scott performing on his guitar: no band, no singing, just the guitar. While playing this song live, Scott would turn up the reverb on his sound board and let the reverb create a layering effect. Scott recreated this live sound in the studio. The resulting track reminds me of seeing Scott playing this song in concert.

One of the most interesting, and commercial radio-friendly songs on Quicksand Remedies is Scott’s song, “Amazed”. With this song, think Santana w/Rob Thomas-meets-Marc Cohn. The song starts with the listener joining in on a Santana-style jam that becomes a piano-driven ballad. Changing paces several times during the 4-plus minutes, the song fades out way too fast.

Scott Smith has created an album that you must hear that features music of many styles, from rock to reggae; from funk to jazz and everything in between. Each track on this CD has a very distinct sound and the resulting songs that make up this album definitely give a small but powerful indication of the talent of this musician. While it would absolutely require seeing this musician in concert to truly appreciate all he can do with his guitar, Scott Smith has created a release with the help of Joe Rohan and Curt Leonard that shows off just a small amount of his musical ability. Pick up a copy of Quicksand Remedies from Scott Smith and experience this talented musician for yourself.

For more information, go to Scott Smith’s website. Also check out his Facebook account.

Click HERE for a live performance of “The Flight” by Scott Smith

There is a movement in the music industry to create fresh sounds by combining elements from different music genres. Illinois-based Midwest Hype is one particular band that has created a new style by taking rock and roll and mixing it with several other genres. The resulting style from the band takes music in a whole different direction while keeping lovers of rock and roll happy.

Midwest Hype contains seven musicians who all come together to create the band’s style. The band consists of George Matthew Prellwitz on lead vocals and guitar, Max Kepler on drums, Nathan Miller on bass, Kevin Krizmanich on keyboards, Ben Morrisey on sax and Scott Whitford on trumpet and Justin “Ideal” Diehl as the vocalist/emcee. Along with the rock base, the band’s sound also incorporates jazz, R&B and hip-hop together to make a style that everyone can get behind. The band took several of their songs and entered the studio, where they worked with producer Steven Gillis who took their music and created a very strong release entitled Dayglow. Dayglow from Midwest Hype is a six-song release. And while the release is rather short, the powerful music created by Midwest Hype will keep the listener hanging on to each note played by the talented seven-piece band.

Dayglow begins with the song “Behind Our Eyes”. Right from the very first note of this track, you get a very good indication of what the band is all about. The track contains a solid reggae base to the music. Along with the reggae, you hear plenty of jazz influence through the playing Ben Morrisey on sax and Scott Whitford on trumpet. And while the words from Justin “Ideal” Diehl are done in a hip hop rhythm, his words fit well with the rest of the track, without adding any unneeded attitude you usually get from hip hop emcees.

Diehl is the first member of Midwest Hype that takes the spotlight on “Elastic Booty Shorts,” the second track of Dayglow. He takes the lead on the vocals while the band really takes amount of jazz on the approach to the music of the track. The hip hop/jazz fusion on this rock hybrid song creates a strong and commercial radio-friendly song that many will find very entertaining.

While the song “All is Water” still contains the same mixture of jazz, rock, reggae that is found on the rest of the release, the smooth approach to the song is a little softer than the previous tracks, which makes it perfect to be played on today’s smooth jazz radio stations.

The beginning of the track “Runaway” brings back just enough of the memory of Bob Marley to give fans of straight reggae music a reason to smile with a sound that seems to be reminiscent of Marley’s “No Woman, No Cry”. George Matthew Prellwitz’s voice creates a strong focal point to draw the listener in. And when the band brings back the rest of their hybrid sound later in the track, they keep the energy up with Morrisey’s sax playing and Justin “Ideal” Diehl’s rapping.

The track “Do or Die” is probably the closest thing to a rock and roll feeling you’ll find on the release, as the band takes the song into a ska direction: The electric guitar from Prellwitz combined with the horns of Ben Morrisey and Scott Whitford make a strong rock/jazz combination that any ska lover will enjoy.

The Dayglow release from Midwest Hype comes to an end with the track “People of America”. Like a lot of the songs in reggae music, “People of America” has a strong message within the lyrics. The lyrics speak of enjoying the peace of our time.

Dayglow from Midwest Hype is a strong six-song release that incorporates many musical genres into one style that will make jazz fans, rock fans, and even hip hop fans happy. The songs created by Midwest Hype give the listener a clear view of the talent that each member of the band possesses, and the talent of the band as a whole. The only thing that may be a problem is the length of the CD: With only six songs, the release is over way too soon.

Click HERE to see the video to the band’s song “Do Or Die“.