Sunday, October 28, 2012

Joey Stuckey Mixture Senate Records 2012

I'm old school...When I start a review I go from cover art to last note played and while digging the cover art, you gotta dig Stuckey's sound even more. Stuckey happens to be blind, nothing stands in this cats way while playing as technically proficient and as artistically as gifted as just about any guitarist you can think of. Musical frame of reference here? While I prefer to stay away from these as they tend to pigeon hole an artist when it comes to Stuckey think Steve Morse meets Jeff Beck but Stuckey has the resume to back me up having  shared a stage with the likes of Ted Nugent, Wet Willie and the B-52's. Stuckey is that rare artist that can touch your heart and set your hair on fire simultaneously.

The new release Mixture drops on 11/27/12 and is an impressive hybrid of jazz, fusion, with that smoldering southern sound reminiscent of Muscle Shoals bubbling just beneath the surface. The opening track is the only vocal on the release and laid down nicely by Pam Rule. As Mixture rolls on Stuckey takes command with a edgy yet angular line of single note runs that are clean, precise and methodical but emotionally charged at the same time. "Too Pooped To Bop" is a perfect example of establishing a lyrical direction from a rich harmonic color palette while creating a sound somewhere between post bop and the more traditional fusion. The band is rock solid and immediately changes direction with "Sunday Brunch" which is a tune that could make serious headway on the smooth jazz charts. Stuckey knows the importance of taking a simple melody and then letting the music come to you. A bright and breezy flow that fits perfectly within this six string showcase. Closing out the release we get the funkier side of Stuckey, clean and precise with the finesse of a surgeon and the melodic heart of a poet. 

Stuckey swings hard and lays down a groove with the best of them. Sidestepping genre classification is a beautiful thing and that is what good music does. A solid, inventive, and incredibly entertaining release!

Tracks: We'll See; Fall; Windows Down; Too Pooped To Bop; Sunday Brunch; Give Five; Raining; Holly Tree Hopeful; Dot Dot Dot; Crooked. 

Personnel: Joey Stuckey: guitar and drum programming; Tom Rule: keyboards and drum programming; Miguel Castro: drums & percussion (1,3,4,6,7,9& 10); Marcus Reddick: drums & percussion (2 & 8); Mark Williams: percussion (5); Monty Cole: aka - "Dr. Flute-a-licious"; flute (6); Pam Rule; vocals (1)