Posts Tagged ‘The Grateful Dead’

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

The Culver City-based band The Alpine Camp came together as an experiment to see if a band could be created using only roots instruments, instruments that include banjos, steel guitars and others that are more often used to create Country or Bluegrass music. Once band founders and main songwriters Chris Bell and Charles Etienne settled on their style, others were brought in to fill out the band’s sound. Along with Bell on guitar and vocals and Etienne on piano and vocals, the rest of the band consists of bassist Jeff Stella, drummer Shad Wilhelm, Bob Hamilton on banjo and Jamison Hollister on pedal steel. Together, The Alpine Camp creates a sound that brings to mind artists like Mumford and Sons, Old Crow Medicine Show, even The Grateful Dead. This musical blend of Americana can be found on The Alpine Camp’s newly-released two-song EP called Adventure.

The first track on the two-song release from The Alpine Camp is the song entitled “Regrets of a Mountaineer”. The track leads off the two tracks with a sound that features a quick-tempo feel to the music. On this track, the band takes a strong beat and combines it with a country-flavored sound. The combination brings to mind a style that will remind some of something from The Doobie Brothers but with a lot more twang to it. The track is one of the rare instances where a song features the entire ensemble as each of the musicians adds an equal amount of influence to the music. As strong as the main part of the song is, once the band hits the refrain of the song, the track picks up a lot of energy. The resulting feel of the music during the refrain of the song will make the listener pay close attention. The track is definitely a song that could get the band a lot of exposure.

The second track to be included on the Adventure EP from The Alpine Camp is “Seven Miles”. Where the song “Regrets of a Mountaineer” finds the band creating a fast-paced track with a lot of energy, the band slows things down quite a bit with the song “Seven Miles”.  The country/rock feel of the piece brings to mind the playing and writing style of a certain Rock And Roll Hall of Famer. As The Alpine Camp and their music would fall into the same musical category of singer-songwriter Leon Russell, it should not come as much of a surprise that the track of “Seven Miles” appears to contain more than just a little influence from Russell in the songwriting and the instrumentation on the track. Aside from the writing of the track itself, the biggest indications of the Russell influence is in the use of banjo on the track, as well as the way the guitar sounds within the track.

The Adventure EP, the newest release to come from The Alpine Camp, ends up being a quick two-song release that will give the listener the opportunity to hear two different styles of writing from the band in a very short amount of time. And while the two tracks that appear on the release have very different styles and sounds to the music, it is the quality of the music produced by the band on those two tracks still indicates the talent of all involved. If you are a fan of bands like Old Crow Medicine Show, Mumford and Sons, even Leon Russell, The Alpine Camp is one band that should be added to your musical library. And good place to start is with their EP called Adventure.

Reviewer: Matheson Kamin

Rating: ***** (five stars)

Mike Delledera is a singer-songwriter based in New York. Having studied jazz music, it was natural for him to include part of that knowledge into his writing style. And with Delledera also studying rock guitar, the two parts of his education came together to create a musical hybrid that also seems to include jazz influence, as well. That combination of rock, jazz and blues gives Delledera the freedom to create music with an ever-changing feel to it. To help bring the sound of his music to life, Mike Delledera calls upon many talented musicians with the ability to play as many styles as required to make up the body of his musical ensemble known as The Mike Delledera Band. Recently, The Mike Delledera Band created a new release called WakeUpSideDowntown.

WakeUpSideDowntown by The Mike Delledera Band begins with the song “Silver Ruby Diamonds Blues”. With that type of name, you would figure it would be a track that had a lot of blues feeling to it. In this case, “Silver Ruby Diamonds Blues” is a track that sounds like something that was influenced by Michael Nesmith and the First National Band. The pop-rock track has a light feel to the music and features a sound that contains steel guitar and piano that help add that Country flavor to the song. The resulting song has a jam band feel to it that would also end up making fans of The Grateful Dead happy.

The track “Sugar Face” finds The Mike Delledera Band taking their music back a few decades to the years after the time of Woodstock. The resulting rock song will instantly have you thinking of another song with “sugar” in the title- “Sugar Shack” from Jimmy Gilmer and The Fireballs. Like that song from years gone by, the track from Mike Delledera has an easy rock feel and has simple lyrics that are easy to sing along with.

The song “Gypsy Soul” is easily the first track on the album of WakeUpSideDowntown from The Mike Delledera Band that would fit on today’s radio airwaves. The majority of the music on the track feels like something that could have come from an artist such as Jack Johnson then adds a little Santana-inspired guitar playing and you have a track that is ready-made for today’s music listeners.

As you listen to the new release from The Mike Delledera Band, the music changes moods and sounds throughout the nine tracks. While the first three songs on WakeUpSideDowntown have rock feels to their bases, the track “Bounce” sends the music in a completely different direction as the track has a rock/reggae sound. As the title of “Bounce” might suggest, the track has an easy, bouncy pace to it. The track feels as authentic as much as the music that is being created by artists who make reggae music full time.

The jam band feeling from the song “Silver Ruby Diamonds Blues” returns in the song “Main Street USA” with a stronger rock base to it. The track allows for the guitar and keyboard to take center stage for majority of the song. The jam band feel of the music goes well with the lyrics that make people stop and think.

“Can’t Stop Rockin’,” like “Silver Ruby Diamonds Blues” before it, is a track that features a sound that you wouldn’t expect from the title of the track. This track features the band going for a jazzy feel to their music. The brasses help add a large amount of jazz sound to the track. The jazz sound mixed with the groove being created by the rest of the musicians gives the track yet another unique musical approach on an album that has already had so many different and exciting combinations.

The WakeUpSideDowntown album by The Mike Delledera Band comes to a close with the track “The Music Echoes On”. Falling somewhere between folk/rock and country music, the song has a sound and feeling that is very reminiscent of songs that were released by the band The Lovin’ Spoonful. The track brings the WakeUpSideDowntown album to a close on a gentle note.

Throughout the nine tracks that make up The WakeUpSideDowntown album by The Mike Delledera Band, the music continuously shifts and switches directions. The ever-shifting combination of rock, jazz, blues and country within the music of each track guarantees a new approach to each song. The talented musicians that helped Mike Delledera create this album are just as important to the overall feel of the release as Delledera is. Together, The Mike Delledera Band has created a release that could easily become a favorite album in your collection as it includes many different musical genres and covers almost any taste in music.

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

 

Click HERE for the live video to “Sugar Face” by The Mike Delledera Band.