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The Curbfeelers - Grit ‘N’ Groove

Self Release

Styles: Full band sound in Up-tempo Blues, Soul, Funky Rocking rhythms, Slow Female- Vocal Love Songs, New Orleans rhythms

When it comes to music, deciding whether it’s “good” or “bad” is a matter of subjective opinion. Case in point: Some listeners like the sound of horns in blues music. Other listeners can’t stand that! However, this reviewer feels that in the case of the Curbfeelers and their latest CD, “Grit ‘n’ Groove,” there lies a certain patch of common ground. Blues music is not meant to make people feel melancholy or depressed. On the contrary--it’s meant to chase the blues away and let listeners know that someone understands (about being broke, losing love, and adult dilemmas). “Grit ‘n’ Groove” does exactly this and more. Every single one of this fun album’s songs banishes one’s blues.

The Curbfeelers, a Blues and Soul band based in Arlington VA, have been playing Chicago Blues and Soul music in area clubs for the past several years. The band was formed in 1997 with some talented local musicians. Laying down the "Groove" is the rhythm section of Sally Swan (bass, vocals, and background vocals) and Jeff Miles on drums. Working that "groove" and filling out the band are none other than: Pete Connell (songwriter, guitar & vocals), Peter Runk (songwriter and keyboards, David Harris (songwriter, blues harp), and the horn section: Neil Reedy (trumpet), Charles Dharapak (Baritone sax), Tom Anderson (tenor sax), and Howard Levine (alto sax). Diversity and enthusiasm are their fortes.

On this, their third record, all but one of the fourteen songs on “Grit ’n’ Groove” are band member originals, and the quality makes one glad no songs were left off, replaced by remakes and covers.

“Try to Satisfy” takes a commanding lead as the swinging blues first track. Sally Swan on sassy vocals sings, “My baby went out shopping down at the mall. He bought me a diamond ring--I said, ‘Take it back, it’s too small!’ I know you’re trying. Baby, can’t you see? I know I satisfy you. Why can’t you satisfy me?” Even though this kicker and the funky “Got Love” are notable earworms, Swan’s finest singing comes on slower songs like the fantastic “If I Knew Now.” As for Pete Connell, who performs “grittier” numbers, his highlights are “Red Wine (with red-hot guitar), the New Orleans flavored “[Back to the] Cul de Sac,” and the hilarious “Coal for Xmas.” Check out the wry “Jingle Bells” riff on the end!

The Curbfeelers feel the blues deep down, and it shows. No matter what your personal taste in blues instruments, “The Curbfeelers” will make you feel fantastic!

Reviewer Rainey Wetnight is a 31 year old female Blues fan. She brings the perspective of a younger blues fan to reviews. A child of the 1980s music, she was strongly influenced by her father’s blues music collection.

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