Can You Feel It?
Sad Boy Trouble
by Jason Hoffman
Sad Boy Trouble is a true working band. A glance at their web site (www.sadboytrouble.com) shows them playing multiple gigs each weekend all summer. Such extensive stage experience clearly shines through on their latest, Can You Feel It? From the mastery of their instruments to the excellent Soundmill Studios production to the caliber of songwriting, everything about this album demands to be taken seriously.
According to their web site, Sad Boy Trouble is a blend of “Chicago Blues, Texas Blues, and Classic Rock.” I hear a bit of 80s hard rock as well, but since it’s been close to 20 years, I suppose that could be considered “classic” in a technical sense. Many blues bands focus on covers of blues classics, and while Sad Boy Trouble covers bands ranging from Stevie Ray Vaughan to Pink Floyd to Stray Cats, the 10 songs here are all originals.
“Groove Thang” is a blistering instrumental reminiscent of the great Vaughan, full of boogie rock and amazing guitar work. The Vaughan vein continues on “Everything,” with its nice blues guitar groove and enticing organ pad. On “Forever,” the band mixes a Whitesnake-era ballad with a Boston-derived chorus to create an effective love song perfect for holding that special someone while downing a choice beverage. “Spirit of Stevie” begins deceptively with the opening two-part harmony chords of “Because” by the Beatles before charging into a rocking tribute to Vaughan, although the rich vocal harmonies continue throughout. The Texas blues guitars are traded for acoustic in “Caryatid,” an instrumental as soothing as sitting beside a quiet stream on a lazy summer afternoon, watching leaves gently waft by.
The title track is a grand departure. Instead of blues-based rock, it has an almost disco vibe with the addition of a wailing sax and a funky guitar riff. It’s a fine song, but it just seems to be solid blues-rock songwriting. Regardless, this album shows why Sad Boy Trouble gets so many gigs: they are just plain good!
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