Say what you want about New Jersey, but let me tell you something, the musicians in the Garden State really know how to rock! After all, a state that has produced the likes of such luminaries as Frank Sinatra, Bruce Sprinsteen, and Whitney Houston could just rest on that trio forever. But when you add in the likes of artists like Dionne Warwick, Ice-T, Frankie Valli, Kool & The Gang, Southside Johnny And The Ashbury Jukes, and The Fugees, you get the idea that this is a musical state.
That’s not even mentioning the likes of The Sugarhill Gang, Count Basie, Connie Francis, Nancy Sinatra, Richie Havens, and of course Parliament-Funkadelic who reminded us to, “Make my funk the P-Funk.” My radio partner, Henry “The Encyclopedia of Musicians” Cook just reminded me about a couple of groups I had forgotten, the 1910 Fruitgum Company and the mythical rockers Eddie And The Cruisers.
Those last guys even had a movie made about them. Thanks Henry…
This trip down Musical Memory Lane should serve to point out just how good you have to be to make your mark in the Tri-State area. Today’s review is of a New Jerseyite (New Jerseyan?), Vin Mott, who is making his recording debut with the independently released Quit The Women For The Blues.
Those are some scary sentiments. I’m not sure I could quit the women for anything, even the blues, but it does show that Mott is a determined man. He’s also a talented songwriter, penning all ten songs on the album as well as providing the vocals and harp. He’s joined by Sean Ronan on guitar; Dean Shot on upright and electric bass, and Andrei Koribanics on drums.
The album starts off with the old-school sounding title track, Quit The Women (For The Blues). The band is tight, very tight, and the vocals growl with danger. This is a stripped down Chicago sound that would have been at home at any time since the end of WWII. He can play with the best of ‘em, and Ronan is a destroyer on guitar.
Next up is the swinging, gentler Make Up Your Mind, that has strong music and darker lyrics. Again, Mott and Company are well versed in that Chicago sound and I could hear either of these first two songs as a release on any of the early blues labels. I can’t believe he’s only in his late 20’s, he plays like he’s been kicking around the planet for a very long time.
I really like the follow up, Don’t Make Me Laugh, with its high energy and cool musical licks. I won’t be able to share it on the radio however, as Mott uses a couple of words that the FCC frowns upon. However, that shouldn’t stop you from playing your copy – loud – whenever you want to enjoy it!
I’m A Filthy Man continues with some good guitar and harp interplay. The rhythm section really does an outstanding job setting up the groove on this song, allowing Mott’s vocals and harp to take over. Especially his harp, it truly makes the song.
Next up is the slow, blistering song, The Factory. It’s a heartbreaking lament of loss in the modern world. He pulls out so much emotion out of every word, and the band is subdued, giving Mott the opportunity to explore his pain. We’ve all worked in that factory – real or metaphorical, and it sure isn’t easy when it tries to suck out your soul.
We get back into fast-paced blues territory with the rolling and rocking Freight Train. Koribanics gives us the driving rhythm of the rails, and Rogan’s guitar swings and gives Mott a chance to really hit the vocals and drop in some wild harp. Good song.
There’s a real shift in musical approach on I Wanna Get Ruff With You. It’s kind of a rhumba cha-cha number, but while it’s not blues, the lyrics are. And those lyrics are very clever and put a little twist on some old clichés. Give it a chance, it’ll grow on you.
With a title like Ol’ Greasy Blues, you get an idea of what you’re going to get. Unapologetic, fun blues with a nice shuffle from the rhythm section. The lyrics work and the harp sings. Just from these first eight songs, I can tell that Mott really enjoys playing the blues, and I’m willing to bet that he puts on a great show live.
Oh man, can this guy belt out a slow number. Living The Blues gives him and the band a chance to really shine. It’s a lonely quiet number of heartache and loss and one in which any person on the dance floor will just hold that other person tighter and dream. Anyone in the audience will just hold that bottle a little closer and remember what they had. Beautiful song.
The album ends with a fun instrumental, Hott Mott’s Theme, that gives every member of the band a chance to shine musically. This one would work at a live show as either an opening song or a closing, just to let the band stretch out and drive the crowd wild.
This album really rocks! I think that Mott shows a great deal of promise and if he continues at this pace, he will very quickly join that pantheon of great artists from New Jersey. I can’t find a website dedicated to just him, but Quit The Women For The Blues is available at all of the usual outlets. Be sure to give it a listen then add it to your collection. It’s a consistent solid effort and I feel confident that it will be on my Best Of 2017 list at the end of the year.