Tweed Funk are a 6 piece Memphis blues-n-soul outfit by way of Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Fronted by Curtis Mayfield alumni vocalist, Joseph “Smokey” Holman, their horn driven sound effortlessly finds a home in the soul and blues genre.
The recipient of 5 WAMI awards in their native state affirms these guys are hardcore and love their art. Their most recent output is the aptly titled, Come Together.
Special guests here on their fourth outing, Come Together, are Doug Woolverton, of Room Full of Blues fame, and backing vocalists, Chrissy Dzioba and Sara Molianen of The Whiskeybelles. This augmented edition lends an indispensable helping hand here in form of jazzy, soulful performances.
The nearly motivational speaker approach of the second song, "Don’t Give Up" is somewhat reminiscent of another Midwest band, The Outsiders. The vocals and horns pay unexpected and well deserved homage in this instance.
The Mayfield influence is on display here of course; most obvious are the double stop licks and rhythms of guitar player JD Optekar. His restrained playing and loose riffs are a welcome find in an age of over playing and showboating. His work on "Muse" is classic Mayfield inspired guitar craft and shows this guy’s done his homework.
"Sweet Music" boasts a Booker T. and the MG’s vibe. The lyrics tell how music saved the singer from a life of despair. I dig the Clarence Clemons like sax solo, to boot.
"Love Ain’t Easy" sports a near Richard Bona-type “pumping in the pocket” bass courtesy of Eric Madunic. This boy knows his stuff and his work is supportive and yet, has a life of its own.
I love the diversity of tunes like the album’s closer, "Bullet." The song opens with a film noir type theme that would not have been out of place in that era. Muted, Mile Davis-like trumpet from Doug Woolverton, shows why this gentleman was sought out. Atmospheric, moody and drenched in reverb the song literally draws you in hook, line and sinker till you’re crying uncle! Great change of pace on this one.
The Memphis style horns abound on this album leaving no doubt where the heart of the band lies. Although they carry most of the album, the remainder of the cast and crew also make noteworthy contributions in what can only be deemed as an “all for one and one for all” inspired disc. Also worthy of mention here is the fine and nearly flawless production.
Come Together is out now and it is available on Tweed Funk's website
ABOUT OUR AUTHOR:
Marc C. Cancassi is a freelance writer and composer. He currently resides in Queens, N.Y.