Groove-a-matics: CD Review – Gotta Use what You’ve Got


GROOVE-A-MATICS – Gotta Use what You’ve Got
Having won the “New Brunswick Battle of the Blues 2012”, and traveled to Canada they are building on this experience, delivering a polished album which confirms that this is a band of experienced musicians, Johnny Whitehill (guitar), Mick Cantwell (vocals, sax and harp), John Morgan (bass) and Barry Race (drums); and this talent is evident on every track. The tracks allow the whole band to shine with Barry Race’s relentless beat, on the drums which gives such a stable bedrock for the band to build on. Barry is not a drummer that has to hit hard he plays with a subtly that at times is hypnotic. There can be no argument that the driving Sax delivered by Mick Cantwell is what makes this CD stand-out from the crowd, combined with his warm, emotive vocals, he is not just singing he is sharing his soul with you as demonstrated on ‘Casino Kate’ with its dance rhythm and delightful interplay between sax and his vocals. John Morgan on bass provides a link between all this talent, with solid clear bass lines, as shown on ‘More To Life Than This’ that allows the men up front to dazzle.
Close your eyes on tracks such as ‘I Know’ and you are back in a record shop booth listening to the latest release through headphones, or in a steamy coffee shop selecting your favourite on the Jukebox. For me that would be ‘Good Man’, where Johnny Whitehill, delivers some blistering Chicago style guitar playing no wonder he has been nominated and awarded so regularly – Johnny, who played for many years with Paul Lamb and the Kingsnakes, was voted blues guitarist of the year four times running. The balance of Barry’s drumming and Johnny’s playing sets shivers up the spine, this is a band of musicians who listen and understand each other not an ego driven competition who can play the loudest.
This is an impressive CD, the band has produced a live-sound in the studio that represents why they are such a popular gigging band, buy, listen, sit-back, enjoy and relax; this is quality blues; then get out that door and listen to them live…

Bluesdoodles gives this CD a doodle rating of
pawprint pawprint pawprint

In the meantime this short live video to whet the appetite.

Marcus Bonfanti – Calm Before The Storm Tour 2013

What a brilliant tour – see my review below here are the dates and venues to catch Marcus on excellent form – go see some truly great live music :-

Marcus Bonfanti - HayonWye - Feb 2013 - _0008l

Do not miss out on seeing Marcus live when he visits Scotland 27th February – 2nd March 2013 – beautiful video from The Globe Hay-on-Wye earlier on in the tour, click link below:-
Marcus Bonfanti – Hay-on Wye
Beautifully filmed by Black Mountain Films

The Globe at Hay-on-Wye, a bijou venue that is unique and quirky, this converted chapel is at the cultural heart of ‘The Town of Books’, with its comfortable chairs in a random layout gave the ideal setting for Marcus, his guitars and distinctive voice as part of his Calm Before The Storm Solo Acoustic tour. As ever it was a confident start by Marcus as he stepped onto the stage which was lit up with drums and a symbol that formed a bright backdrop to the opening number that was simple in its format of voice and blues harp.

Marcus provided the audience with a strong set that showcased his guitar skills and introduced us to tracks from previous recordings and the much awaited new album due Spring 2013, including many favourites. He started on his Galaxy acoustic guitar with ‘Devil Girl’, followed quickly on by a  track from his forthcoming CD, ‘Blind Alley’; there is no doubt this prodigious talent is growing with stronger lyrics combined with powerful guitar, revealing the true real heart and soul of Marcus, with that distinctive mix of sweet and sour, summed up in the line ‘little sip bitter wine’. With a deft guitar change and relaxed interchange with an audience that had instantly warmed to this young man of the blues with his friendly open style; he launched into ‘Jezebel’ on his Telecaster, this change of tempo and style is what makes his solo act so vibrant fresh and live, using the great acoustics in this converted Chapel to his advantage; he made the guitar zing and his voice soar in perfect harmony as they reverberated throughout the building with warmth and depth.

Marcus always entertains with his musicality, friendly interaction with the audience with songs that included ‘Honey’; ‘Hard Times’ with such relevant lyrics for now mixed in with some gospel for good measure demonstrating his great versatility.  ‘The Girl I Knew’ was including in his repertoire for this tour, and ‘Bittersweet’ , that won Marcus the British Blues Award, Songwriter of the Year 2012; the tempo changed again as he introduced another two new songs, ‘My Baby Don’t Dance’ showing his skills with slide guitar ‘Bang of a Gun’, like many of his songs the title drives the song and captures the tempo. The evening all to quickly came to an end with ‘Give Me your Cash’ which had been showcased by Paul Jones when promoting this eagerly awaited solo tour. Of course this wasn’t the last as an encore followed as light follows day with the poignantly wistful song ‘Sweet Louise’. Marcus  certainly won new fans tonight.

To sum up the gig in one word ‘powerful’ in a sentence; charismatic powerhouse mesmerizing the audience with his powerful, entertaining modern British acoustic blues.
Marcus Bonfanti - HayonWye - Feb 2013 - _0008l