GEORGE GRITZBACH – WHOA YEAH! – REVIEW BY MS. MARCI
Review by Ms. Marci
George Gritzbach, who wrote all nine cuts on this disc is featured on electric and acoustic guitars, harmonica and vocals. All performed with skill and soul. His arrangements are diverse, yet congruent, and are the common thread that sews “WHOA YEAH” all together.
This recording opens on a very up-tempo and optimistic note with “Don’t Bug Out!” This song has a kickin’, “Junior Walker” energy, compliments of an outstanding horn section featuring Steve Ahern, Rich Labetz and local-to-international saxophone legend, Mike “Tunes” Antunes (Beaver Brown Band). I might add that Antunes is not the end of the prestigious names taking part in this recording. Aside from George Gritzbach, who is a bit of a legend in his own right, there is no shortage of impressive personalities involved in this project. Phil Green of Triad Recording Studio played guitar, sang backing vocals, and acted as producer along with fellow Triad partner, Tony Ricci.
One thing in particular that endeared me to this recording is the cleverness of the music and lyrics. Gritzbach is a wordsmith! For instance, the second tune, “No Spare Part” approaches the loss of a relationship from a unique angle…”I’m not lookin’ to change your mind. I’d just like to know what junkyard has my heart.” This CD shifts to a pop-jazz groove on track three, “Meant To Be,” which could be defined as a hybrid of “Fever” and “Moon Dance.” Then, the fourth cut, “Hot Little Hands,” has a straight out raw and rockin’ feeling punctuated by some strong soloing on slide guitar. This tune tells a tale of an unsuspecting person basically being stalked. Leave your imagination open. Then Gritzbach seamlessly segues into another tune with a clever concept that “Love May Be Blind…but it ain’t deaf and dumb, too!” This is, unfortunately, a song many of us can identify with as he reports being presented with way too much evidence that his woman is cheating on him. The sixth cut is Gritzbach’s “Queen Bee,” a song who’s only connection to the well known song of the same title is the fact that it’s pure blues. He exclaims in the chorus, “She’s my queen bee, always gives me a good buzz!”
This disc shifts gears on track seven, “Day Off” to something completely lighthearted and another display of his way with words. The song starts with the drums playing something reminiscent of a Bo Diddley beat then the horns kick in. The lyrics resonate a sentiment I think we all can share, “All I need is a day off…nothin’ to do an’ all day to do it!” Then on cut eight, this recording slips into a gentle, warm folk blues feeling in “Cape Bay Blues” as he muses about the place he has, I imagine, spent most of his life.
The final and title track, “WHOA YEAH!” is a swing song guaranteed to get people up and dancing! The chorus has the kind of hook that draws you in and you’ll be singing it by the second verse…if not sooner. The perfect ending to a perfect recording!
You can purchase “WHOA YEAH!” on CD Baby, Amazon.com, and of course, the CD release party at The Narragansett Cafe in Jamestown, RI on Sunday, January 12th, 2014 at 4:00pm. Well worth the trip!
The unsung heroes:
Bobbie Alves, drums
Rich Hill, Fender electric and upright bass
Michael Critch, keyboards
For more info, go to; www.georgegritzbachmusic.com