Tweed Tone Records
"Come Together" is the new release from the Milwaukee based blues and soul band Tweed Funk. Since the group's last release, there has been some change in personal; but constants are vocalist Joseph 'Smokey' Holman, guitarist JD Optekar, bassist and keyboardist Eric Madunic with new members including Dave Schoepke on drums, Andrew Spadafora on saxophones and Doug Woolverton on trumpet. The brief liner notes observes that there was more of a focus on songwriting with more members involved in the process here.
There is plenty of strong performances her in a Memphis to Chicago soul. As sung in the somewhat autobiographical, "Sweet Music," Holman's career took him to Memphis where Stax and Hi records beckoned but a later connection with Curtis Mayfield and Curtom Records had an even more significant impact. There are messages in his songs like on "Don't Give Up," with a message of keep striving to one's goals and the title track, not the Beatles' song but about coming together to make things better for us all. Particular high lights for this listen is the swamp pop-tinged "Embrace," which Holman sings with the feel of a Percy Sledge and on which Spadafora takes a booting solo. The funky instrumental "Who Is This" has some blistering trumpet from Woolverton ("Don't Give Up" is another track with superlative trumpet). "Bullet" opens with atmospheric amplified muted trumpet before Smokey sings about the four horseman and fighting the fear and how a bullet took away his last chance. Woolverton's obligatos and solo set the atmosphere while the spare backing also contributes to this powerful, somber blues.
Tweed Funk has produced another very choice recording . There may have been some personnel changes, but they keep up the funk. The only down news is that Smokey Holman is currently experiencing serious health issues from which we can only hope he recovers because he is certainly a most wonderful talent.
I received my review copy from a publicist. This review appeared originally in the May-June 2016 Jazz & Blues Report (Issue 366). Here is a promotional video for this release.