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Gary Sellers -Soul Apparatus
It is a familiar tale – a wily veteran performer schools a young musician until the student gains the confidence to head off on his or her own. This apprenticeship period serves two purposes by not only imparting valuable instruction on the art of making music but also providing lessons on living the musician’s life out on the road. The process has been repeated over and over again, ensuring that the musical traditions are passed from one generation to the next.
Gary Sellers had Sam “The Bluzman” Taylor as his mentor. Taylor was a highly regarded singer, guitarist and songwriter who was a fixture on the Long Island, New York blues scene. Elvis Presley, Freddie King, Joe Tex and other well-known singers recorded Taylor’s songs. Sellers shares Taylor’s ability to mix soul and blues elements into a heady brew of music that takes an honest look at life’s ups & downs.
collaborated on writing the opening track, “Chewin’ Ice”, which offers a
sure-fire way to tell what a woman is thinking. They also co-wrote “Slow
and Steady” with Sellers delivering tasty guitar licks over a funky
The faster tempo on “Done Sold Everything” lends a light-hearted feel to Sellers’ description of his attempts to satisfy the taxman.
Sellers has a voice with a slightly pinched, nasally tone and a limited range. His cover of “Let’s Straighten It Out” works because he takes his time and doesn’t push his voice too hard. Equally good is his run-through of “Sideshow Blues”. Sellers voice has a harder edge while his stinging guitar work punctuates Todd Snider’s humorous look at dealing with life’s issues. On “Dark End of the Street”, Sellers makes a valiant effort but his voice isn’t strong enough to make his version one that you will return to. The same issue occurs on “Living For the City”, where the soulful backing vocals from Taylor and Danny Kean are what capture the listener’s attention. But Sellers comes through on “It Don’t Hurt No More”, a slow blues that finds Sellers pleading vocal enveloped by his stinging guitar work.
The backing musicians include Mario Staiano on drums & percussion, Kean on keyboards, Gerry Sorentino and Dan Travis on bass plus Judi and Amy Sellers on backing vocals on “The Dark End of the Street”. But the focus stays on Sellers, who acquits himself well, especially on guitar. He joins a legion of other singers/guitarists fighting for attention in the crowded marketplace. From what I have heard, he is one of the better musicians that you have never heard of. Check out his music on his website and see if you agree.!
Reviewer Mark Thompson is president of the Crossroads Blues Society in Rockford. IL. He has been listening to music of all kinds for fifty years. The first concert he attended was in Chicago with The Mothers of Invention and Cream. Life has never been the same.