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Thursday, June 27, 2013

Blues and Trouble - Grand Marquis - New Release Review

I just received the newest release (June 25, 2013), Blues and Trouble from Grand Marquis. Grand Marquis is Bryan Redmond on lead vocal and sax, Chad Boydston on trumpet, Ryan Wurtz on guitar, Ben Ruth on bass and sousaphone and Lisa McKenzie on drums and washboard. Opening with Bed of Nails, the band wastes no time establishing a strong instrumental presence with horns and slide guitar. Redmond has a very distinctive singing style reminiscent of earlier times and this track is jam packed full. I really like it! Every Day's The Same has a strong New Orleans jazz rhythm, again horn heavy on bottom. Redmond unleashes a nice sax solo followed by Boydston on trumpet and leading up to Wurtz on guitar. A bluesy R&B style track, Reputation gets a heavy dramatic treatment from Redmond on vocals before laying down a nice sax solo and Wurtz riffs off a real nice guitar solo as well. Empire Of Dirt is a really cool funky track with horn lead and popping drum accents. Boydston plays a particularly hot trumpet solo on this track as well. Ben Ruth opens Blues and Trouble with a walking bass line leading into a bluesy jazz type track. Ruth has another opportunity to spread his wings on this track as well and Redmond shows his sax chops once again. Ironclad Alibi starts off with some really cool Spanish style guitar work and melds into a horn piece with a Latin beat. With it's smooth manner and soothing melody it is likely to be the strongest airplay entry on the release. Redmond plays a really nice woody sax solo on this track also leading to a bright solo from Boydston as well. Two by Two is a real swinger with sax/trumpet lead. Redmond has a particularly distinctive voice and it is well displayed on this track. I particularly like Boydstons work on this track edging Dixieland. I'm guessing that Redmond plays the hot clarinet on this track and Wurtz steps up with some real hot swing riffs of his own. Possibly the coolest track on the release. On It Must Be Easy To Be The Devil, swampy overtones on the slide set a nice bed of smoke for Redmond on vocals. Boydston adds some real cool trumpet sound scape effects on trumpet but once Wurtz gets started he sets the track on fire. Mr Williams is another of my favorites painting a real nice image of a NO march line (Think Dyin Crapshooters Blues). McKenzie does an excellent job on this track and I really dig her drumming in particular. Jazzy riffs gypsy style from Wurtz are really cool as well. Closing out the set is Half The Money, a strongly Dixieland influenced track. I really like the way the instruments are stacked but not competing. Really nice.

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