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I started a quest to find terrific blues music and incredible musicianship when I was just a little kid. I also have a tremendous appreciation of fine musical instruments and equipment. One of my greatest joys all of my life was sharing my finds with my friends. I'm now publishing my journey. I hope that you come along!

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Showing posts with label The Mojo Stars. Show all posts
Showing posts with label The Mojo Stars. Show all posts

Wednesday, July 5, 2017

Artist Spotlight: Vancouver's The Mojo Stars

Formed almost ten years ago, Vancouver’s The Mojo Stars wasted no time establishing themselves as a force to be reckoned with in the local blues scene. With deep roots in blues and soul, combined with a rock driven edge, this multi-talented band has been collecting a large following starting from their debut performance at Vancouver International Jazz Festival to their upcoming tour of 2017.

Comprised of front man Randy Clarke, guitarist Mark Rankin, and later including local heavyweights, drummer Loren Etkin (Long John Baldry) and bassist Lee Oliphant, the band’s first year saw them playing at local clubs, pubs, casinos and private events. In 2009, they recorded their first CD, Devil’s Advocate, a collection of ten original songs penned by Clarke and Rankin. The album received extensive airplay and was featured on blues radio programs in Canada, the US and Europe.

The end of 2010 saw the group on hiatus, but two years later they returned reinvigorated, adding new members, B3 player Kenny Boychuck (long time Jerry Doucette collaborator) and sax man Tom Gould to the lineup. Playing their return gig at the newly- opened Columbia in New Westminster, The Mojo Stars sold out the 500-seat-room and treated both old and new fans to the freshly written material.

Now, The Mojo Stars have released their new album Under The Influence (February 17, 2017). The 11-track recording features six live cuts and is laden with catchy, heavy riffs, Stax-like grooves and soulful vocals. The Mojo Stars will be performing locally to celebrate the release and heading out on tour later in 2017. 

“Under The Influence is feel good blues, a lively mixture of 5 studio and 6 live cuts, and the energy of the performances is infectious… The band is tight, the performances are solid and occasionally inspirational.  Under The Influence is capable of heavy lifting if you’re feeling down and your soul needs a boost… what could be better than that?” – Gonzo Online/The Rock Doctor

“Their music is adorned with a powerful and effective combination of  dynamic rock, funk, soul and blues, and such fusion guarantees above all a great and inspired musical story.” – Blues Corner / Soundguardian

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Monday, May 8, 2017

The Mojo Stars - Under The Influence - New release review

I just had the opportunity to review the most recent release, Under the Influence, by The Mojo Stars and it's interesting. Opening with title track, Under The Influence, vocalist Randy Clarke with Mark Rankin on guitar, Rob Marr on bass, Shawn Soucy on drums, Steve Soucy on keys and Kenny Boychuck on B3 crafts an updated rock sound pulling from the sounds of and Argent, Humble Pie and the Doors among others. Nice opener. Swinging over to a country approach, Why Can't I Be True has a real honky tonk feel with perfect syncopation, meaty guitar riffs and super keys. Bluesy ballad, No Use In Crying (Live) has the smooth characteristics of Elvin Bishop's Fooled Around And Fell In Love with a solid melody, nice sax work by Tom Gould and strong radio appeal. A cool Latin influenced track, 26 Banks, is one of my favorites on the release. Sassy sax work by Gould, nice vocals by Clarke and a crisp solo by Rankin make this track move. Soulful ballad, Why Didn't You Know is another serious entry for top track on the release with a smooth melody, a nice bass solo by Marr, a ripping lead line by Gould and the smoothest vocals on the release by Clarke. Rock 'n' Roller, I Ain't Feeling As Good As I Look (Live) really gets the house moving with cool rhythm and hot sax. Throaty guitar lead by Rankin opens Love, What Have You Done, a lightly Latin influenced track. Nice B3 work by Boychuck and sax work by Gould give this track a jazzy feel. Cool jazz rocker, Lock The Door Mama has a great walking bass line with slick sax and guitar lead exchange making this one of the hottest tracks on the release. Wrapping the release is boogie woogie track, You Don't Know Me and I Wish You Would. With this band on a roll, these guys hammer it home giving it a super effort and a dynamic closer for a cool release.

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