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