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Friday, July 19th, 2013
Music Reviews

Michael Vincent Band, Train Conversations... The Beat’s Record Roundup

Musicians! Send your CDs to The Beachcomber, P.O. Box 5707, Destin, FL 32540-5707.

Big Al & the Heavyweights

Sunshine on Me


Produced by Anders Osborne, who turns up on a couple tracks along with Warren Haynes. What the vocalist lacks in raw power, he makes up for in likability, and there’s plenty of hot playing plus catchy tunes. The forays into Zydeco suggest Big Al and the guys are fully immersed in the genre and not just dabbling. The band performs at Funky Blues Shack in the Village of Baytowne Wharf July 27.

- Chris Manson

Blue Mother Tupelo

Heaven & Earth (2009)


It’s hard not to play this and think this is what it would sound like if Sheryl Crow and Kenny Rogers recorded together. The album stands out because of its beautiful simplicity, driven by harmonies from husband-wife duo Ricky and Micol Davis. “Wish I Was in Heaven Sitting Down” is the highlight here—you can just feel it to your core. Blue Mother Tupelo performs at the Seaside Amphitheatre July 31.

- Nikki Hedrick

John Scofield

Uberjam Deux


Like its name says, the personnel of guitarist (and former Daytonian) Scofield’s Uberjam Deux have superior credentials. Among the supporting players are John Medeski and Andy Hess. A legend with nothing to prove, Scofield seems to be enjoying himself here, walking, shuffling, trading back and forth with reggae and African beats before returning to blues and soul grooves. The funky “Cracked Ice” and dreamlike “Curtis Knew” might have you wondering where you put your wide-brimmed hat and platform shoes. And everybody should have “C.P. Shuffle” as their personal exit music.

- Bruce Collier

Scorpion Child

Scorpion Child

Nuclear Blast

Do you miss Led Zeppelin? Because, while maintaining a sense of originality, Scorpion Child are about as close to Zep as you can get. There’s not a single weak spot on this album, down to the fuzzy production that adds warmth and a genuine vibe that would have been stripped away had they gone for something slick and glossy.

- Nikki Hedrick


Natural Selection (2012)


What a modern prog rock band is supposed to sound like, with lengthy instrumental detours that are driven by rhythm, not noodling. The epic closing track “Home” suggests that whatever direction the band decides to take next time around, they’ll succeed. Sumilan performs at Funky Blues Shack in Destin July 27.

- Chris Manson

Train Conversations

we’re all canoes in a pond


Local band’s five-song digital EP does a great job showcasing their high-energy approach to a mature, modern rock sound. “Trap” seems like a fitting theme song for these guys, an ode to embracing your inner youth regardless of “real” age.

- Nikki Hedrick

Michael Vincent Band

Puttin’ the Word in the Streets


Amazing that these guys are only in their 20s, since they sing and play like hardened veterans. “Trailer Park Boogie” is fun, and the surf-rock tinged instrumental “The Midst” sounds like a lost track from the Pulp Fiction soundtrack. Their cover of Bo Diddley’s “Mona” gets the job done, while the power trio’s version of George Harrison’s forgettable Beatles tune “Old Brown Shoe” demonstrates real genius on the band’s part. The Michael Vincent Band plays live at Hog’s Breath in Destin July 27.

- Chris Manson

Robert Walter’s 20th Congress

Get Thy Bearings

The Royal Potato Family

Get Thy Bearings is fronted by keyboardist Walter (co-founder of the recently reviewed Greyboy Allstars). He formed the band so he’d have musicians to play his compositions. In addition to composing scores for shows you’d recognize (Walk Hard, Bridesmaids, New Girl), Walter has done a lot of work in New Orleans. It shows in much of the blues-funk presented here. The nine-track, 40-minute album’s ‘70s wall-of-sax-and-organ vibe is suitable for bar, street parade or film soundtrack. Tarantino should hire this man, if he dares.

- Bruce Collier

White Wizard

The Devil’s Cut

Earache/Century Media

This California-based traditional metal band has a local connection—guitarist Jake Dreyer hails from Panama City. With a new lineup in place, The Devil’s Cut is all about intricate guitar work and quasi-operatic vocals. It has enough classic metal elements to make most fans happy, while dipping into some more modern tendencies likely to pull new fans into the genre.

- Nikki Hedrick