(504 North, 2003)
All the notes about this band say this is blues, reggae and roots rock music. I'd have to add that a country component settles into some of their songs. And it gets a little jazzy at times, too. Based in Richmond, Va., and together since 2001, the band has created Get Away on their own label, 504 North.
Does this claim to a wide variety of styles mean the band can't find its own sound, its special voice? Not at all. Their sound is a strong composite of all the parts tied together with a beautiful beat, no matter what that beat is.
Bringing it all together as Moossa are Ryan Davis on bass and vocals, Jim Fabricatore on guitar and vocals, Scott Lewis on percussion and drums, and John Moossa on guitar and lead vocals. Mixer/musician John Morand and Miguel Urbiztondo lend a hand on a couple of cuts.
Even though this is a first CD for the group, the guys are excellent. It's really hard to believe it's a first. The timing and the arrangements are absolutely fantastic. The arrival of this band on the scene is good news that will spread quickly, I have no doubt.
One of the outstanding features is John Moossa's voice. Whether it's an amazing talent, a high quality of mixing or both, the vocals are clear and strong. The music fits around his voice like a seat on a tilt-a-whirl. As his voice rides the lyrics, the music lifts it, throws it, spins it and yet contains it so that not a piece is lost.
Surprisingly, for a first CD, the music and lyrics are powerful. The quality never wavers and songs are composed by several members of the group. Though presentation and style do change and that could be considered a flaw in some minds, it didn't take away from my enjoyment of this album. As you continue to listen, the CD gets more intriguing and exciting with each cut. The music is powerful, the lyrics built on descriptive vocabulary and imaginative phrases without boring cliches.
When the album finished there was a large silent void beside me as if a live presence had just left the room. So be warned, whatever your musical leanings you'll get attached to these guys. "Zinger Jones" is an unforgettable tune as are "Moose Blues," "Break Apart" and "Dragon Den."
You want to own this one. It's an adventure, an active listening experience -- reggae with soul, rock with intelligence and blues with a conscience. Listening is believing.