Capsule Reviews by Mark E. Waterbury

Backhouse Lily – No Apologies
An instrumental rock trio from Las Vegas, Backhouse Lily make no apologies alright…for being talented and unafraid to explore various musical paths. Though the overall  vibe is rock, here is a myriad of stylistic undercurrents ranging from blues, grunge and new wave to electronica, prog and World. Sometimes these vibes collide in the same song, creating fresh and often intoxicating music. Talent and innovation works wonderfully here.  

Mary Jo Curry – Mary Jo Curry
Guitar Angels Records
Cutting her musical teeth in theatrical productions, Mary Jo Curry unleashes her musical talents with this potent debut. This CD is brimming with bawdy blues tunes that have comforting hooks, wicked solos and just the right touch of orchestrated backdrops. Mixing originals and covers, Mary Jo shows serious vocal chops and a knack of making songs both heartfelt and uplifting. A pleasant, ear-opening first effort.


Mason Summit – Gunpowder Tracks

Mason Summit – Gunpowder Tracks
This young singer-songwriter from L.A. continues to show growth in both his songwriting and recording talent. Mason’s infectious voice seems a blend of Paul McCartney and the mellower side of Dave Grohl, as he adeptly handles the emotional twists and turns of the intriguing stories he weaves. The song styles range from intoxicating alt folk to Americana; from psuedo Brit-pop to jazz subtleties, staying on the mellow side, but still bringing an ambient intensity that is often intoxicating. The musical arrangements often showcase alternating dynamics from bare-bones acoustic to burgeoning, orchestrated flourishes. There is some serious music talent backing Mason. He has already worked with some highly-regarded players and this CD is no exception as it features drummer Shawn Nourse from I See Hawks In L.A., and electric/upright bass master Jeff Turmes from Mavis Staples’ band. It is easy to see how Mason can attract such talented musicians because his music is both likable and captivating. At just nineteen years old, this is already his third CD, and you just get the feeling listening to his progression, he is on the verge of breaking through. -MW
Mason 2016 CD PACKAGE_final_062016.indd


Hard Swimmin’ Fish – True Believer

Hard Swimmin’ Fish – True Believer 
Virginia’s Hard Swimmin’ Fish have become one of the most dependably entertaining and intriguing modern blues acts around. The music is gritty, sweaty, with a live feeling harkening of tube amps, weather-worn guitars and wooden floors that bounce with each beat. Perhaps one of the most ear-opening facet to their music is their uncanny prowess and blending strong roots with modern songwriting quirks, avoiding the all-to-common modern blues trap of coattail riding. From nasty jump to driving funk, brash rocking to mournful ballads, this band pours every ounce of their soul into these songs. The musicianship is both tight talent-wise, also exuding a looseness that makes you feel like you have a bunch of great players hanging out in a smoke-filled club for a jam session. While the lyrics lean a bit towards typical blues subjects, they do catch your attention both with their honesty and the range of vocal emotions conveying them. To boil it down, the CD/lead track title pretty much says a lot about this band’s philosophy. If you are not a true believer after listening to this CD, you had better see if you still have a pulse. – MW