Friday, June 20, 2008

Reviews:: The Brothers Chaffey Harbord Street Soul


Sometimes a CD finds it way into my grubby little hands and I have no idea who the band is or why I should listen, but the other day I was handed a copy of The Brothers Chaffey record - Harbord Street Soul - with the simple descriptor, "they smoke." Seemed like a simple enough of an endorsement.

As it turns out, "smoke" means jumping headlong into some soul filled roots and country that sounds like the brothers grew up in the Rust Belt or the Southern swamplands, not Ottawa. While I realize this style has become more and more popular lately - it seems most musicians have traded in the trusty drum machine for organs and steel guitars - I'd wager that The Chaffey's have been sitting around listening to their folks old LPs for almost as many years as they've been alive.

Sure, they have a couple tracks like you'd expect to hear from a young country roots band (The Whiskeytown sound of I Heard You Call My Name shows how talented the band could be if they opted to go that route), but they seem more interested in making sure everyone (themselves included) has a good time when their music comes on.

The record offers a glimpse into their live performance; most of the songs feature a solo or two from Curtis Chaffey and peaks of energy from the deep voice of his brother Matthew. A country rocker like Runaway probably evolves on stage, especially when they bust into heavy piano lines, stacatto guitar notes and crashing drums and the Fogerty influence on Drums, Guitar & Things makes for an easy listen, but for me the songs that hit with more of a back porch swampy soul vibe are the big winners for the band.

Matthew's voice settles into a more comfortable soul vibe on Wrapped Up on You and the organ sizzles yo ucan't help but think of Patrick Sweany (another young talent settling nicely into the same sounds). When Curtis busts into a big solo on You've Got To Be Strong you just start nodding along. This music may not be anything new - more like a heart felt tribute to the sounds that shaped them musically - but when it comes to swamp rock, reinventing the wheel is far less productive than just continuing the journey on down the road. Good music is timeless and should help you escape and when you here a terrific song like Come Back to Me you realize that is just what the Chaffey's are hoping to help you do.

Harbord Street Soul is two years old, but the boys are heading back into the studio soon and will be sharing the stage with Adam Puddington next Friday @ Gingers.

Posted at 7:47 AM by ack :: 0 comments

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