Coldsweat's story is by now a familiar one; veteran guitarist who's kicked around the clubs for years takes a bit of a hiatus to establish and raise a family, and returns with renewed vigor and a determination to carry his music to the next level.
And when Robert Anthony began searching for like-minded players a couple of years ago, he was fortunate indeed to find vocalist Anthony Salvatore. With a background in rock, Anthony admits he auditioned as a lark, yet sounds as though he's been singing the blues since birth. The two hit it off, Anthony brought in drummer Rob Randazzo, and the picture was completed when bassist Gary Boudreau came on board.
"nocturnal" is the band's debut, and it's a fine outing indeed. With nine of the disc's twelve tunes penned by Anthony and Robert, either solo or as a team, the disc stays largely within traditional blues grooves, from hard driving shuffles ("Tradesman," to moody minor-key musings ("3:00 A.M."), with a bit of bouncy swing ("Gonna Love You" is utterly irresistible) thrown in for good measure. And most are infused with a sense of melody that lifts them above the 'same-old-same-old.' There's only one misstep, a funky dance tune that, while strong enough on its own, sounds a bit out of place on this particular playlist. Covers include a raunchy take on Freddie King's "See See Baby," Wolf's "How Many More Years" taken at slower pace than usual, and a rockin' "Me And My Guitar" that give both Mr. Randazzo and Mr. Boudreau a chance to flex their considerable chops.
Joining the band on keys - primarily organ - is Michael Fonfara. While his is hardly a household name, he's been with "Canada's blues band," Downchild, for a number of years now, and has graced an astonishing number of recording projects as well. His work throughout is a highlight, proving a perfect foil for Rob's lean, clean leads; it's a great fit, as there's a lot of Texas in Coldsweat's sound, Rob's guitar work often sounding much like Ronnie Earl's gutsier musings, with equally fleet fretwork augmented by crunching chords.
Then there's Anthony . . . even on disc he comes across as . . . well, large, and those who've never seen him will nonetheless know instantly that he dominates any stage. A shouter in the Joe Turner mold (a more contemporary comparison would be Jimmy Morello), he's as powerful as they come, yet even at full throttle there are nuances aplenty to his vocals. Some use volume to mask shortcomings, but Anthony clearly has nothing to hide; quite simply, he's a great singer.
Recorded at Liquid Studio, fast becoming (if not already) Toronto's premier venue for blues acts (owner Alec Fraser, known primarily as a bassist, here guests on percussion) the sound is perfect, clean yet never too bright. Packaging, too, is exemplary for an indie outing.
An excellent debut and a promising portent of great things to come from Coldsweat . . . highly recommended!
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