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Blue Rhythms White Lies
(Pixel Max Entertainment, © 2004, PMX - 111)
Review Date: Nov 2008
by Jim Angehr
Judging from what I hear on the Wisconsin-based Groove Hogs' fourth album, Blue Rhythms White Lies, I'd love to see these guys' record collections. I'd bet you'd find in them some Muddy Waters, a good bit of Sam Cooke, and more than a couple Allman and Stones sides. I'd even wager you a steak dinner that you'd find a Southside Johnny and the Asbury Jukes disc in some dark, dusty corner somewhere.
How else could you explain the breadth of sound on Blue Rhythms? It's such a tasty brew of blues, funk, soul, and rock and roll that you know the Hogs have done their roots music homework and put the pieces together for a mighty fine album. If you had to pigeonhole their style, rock ‘n soul may be as good a label as any. Start with what must be the most soulful singer (Adam Enevoldsen) in the northern Midwest (he also plays a mean slide), mix in a guitarist (Pat Kiel) equally adept at lead and funked-out rhythm, slather on horns that would make Tower of Power proud, butter it up with organ, and give it a fat bottom end—we're talking groove now. Putting the project over the top is producer Jim Gaines, who's worked with the best in blues, funk, and rock over the years.
The album begins with "Soul Infatuation," establishing from the outset that this is a group that knows how to get funky, although the slinky slide guitar of the second track, "Long Gone," lets you know that we're not going to stay in just one genre of music for this ride. The roadhouse rock-meets-Hi Rhythm of "Stop Pushin' on Me" kicks without kitsch or irony, but the next two songs, "How Wrong Can You Be?" and "Waiting on You," are the heart of the record. These are serious soul cuts. Don't try this at home, folks: it's very, very hard to make the shimmering dynamics of these soul tunes sound this unforced and exuberant. Vocalist Enevoldsen nurses the lyrics to absolute perfection—ditto for the set closer, "Too Little Too Late." The second half of the disc settles into punchy, soul-filled rock, and it has a tight cohesiveness that compliments the eclecticism of the first "side."
Remember those CD's in your collection that had you plastered with a dumb grin by the time the last song rolled around? Pick up Blue Rhythms White Lies to add another one like that to your stash. Once you do, it won't just sit in some dark, dusty corner of your collection somewhere.
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