Friday, February 8, 2013

Altered Five -- "Gotta Earn It"

Altered Five are one of my favorite new bands of 2012. They come out of Milwaukee Wisconsin, they have been together since 2002, and they have been playing the upper Midwest ever since. Still, I didn't know anything about them until last November. This is their 2nd cd, after 2008's "Bluesified" (Cold Wind Records). Nowadays Altered Five is stepping out under their own banner, and I like the way they wrote it on their website--"After nearly a decade of molding the music of others into their own image, the group began to apply its sound to original songs and other lesser known blues and soul tunes." I wish I could catch these guys live. I'll bet they are dynamite in a live setting. 

The band is made up of Jeff Taylor (lead vocals), Jeff Schroedl (guitar and background vocals), Mark Solveson (bass and background vocals), Raymond Tevich (keyboards), and Scott Schroedl (drums and percussion). The band wrote seven of the ten songs here. The three covers are all remarkable: a driving, bluesy take on the early Smokey Robinson-penned Motown hit “Ain’t That Peculiar”; a revved-up reading of Willie Dixon’s 1961 Buddy Guy Chess recording “Watch Yourself”; and another Smokey Robinson-penned Motown original, “You’ve Got to Earn It.” The originals are all terrific, too, featuring the big voice of Jeff Taylor, really good guitar work by Jeff Schroedl, cool keyboards and top-notch rhythm work by the powerhouse duo of Schroedl and Solveson. Every time I play this cd I find myself focusing on a different element--today I'm digging the great bass work on "Older, Wiser Richer." I think my favorite song here is "You've Got To Earn It," which I have played several times on my Texas Blues Show on (It airs every Thursday 4-7pm EST if I am allowed to make a shameless plug on my own blog.) I know these guys are not from Texas, but good music is good music, no matter where it comes from.

This is a terrific cd--I only wish I had discovered these guys years ago, so I could have been telling people about them all this time.

This cd is on Conclave Records. You can buy this cd at the band's website, and you can also see several concert performances. Go to

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