|Photo by Carlalyn Bieniek|
Blake Mattingly (that's a band, not a guy) updates classic rock, soul and funk in polished songs with hip-swaying, midtempo grooves full of pent-up energy.
By JOSHUA TANZER
Blake Mattingly is a good bet but far from a sure thing. The band with a great big sound, polished originals and two charismatic frontmen is still one of many musical projects for Denny Blake and Patrick Mattingly, along with drummer Wylie Wirth and bassist Malcolm Gold. After a couple of shows this spring concluding with one this Thursday (May 3, 2001) at the C-Note competing gigs will keep the band members apart for the summer, so the fall is when we'll really find out what Blake Mattingly is capable of.
The band "can't be called a main project right now," says Mattingly. "In the fall, when Denny and I get some writing done and put out the new album, it will be the main project."
|Denny Blake (guitar, vocals)|
Patrick Mattingly (vocals)
Wylie Wirth (drums)
Malcolm Gold (bass).
Related links: Official site
| AUDIO |
|Climb Back Down || RA|| MP3|
|Hero No More || RA|| MP3|
|Insinuation || RA|| MP3|
|Molly || RA|| MP3|
| © 1999 Blake Mattingly. Used by permission.|
This collaboration started a couple of years ago when the two bandleaders were introduced at an ASCAP-sponsored songwriting workshop and quickly found musical brotherhood. Mattingly was a recent arrival from Washington, D.C., while Blake was already a seasoned pro who started touring at age 18 and plays in Broadway orchestras.
The band specializes in hip-swaying midtempo grooves with a big bass and guitar sound and an irresistible beat. They smoothly combine the sounds of '60s rock, '70s funk and soul, and '90s country singer-songwriters (plus Blake and Mattingly both say they're crazy about Radiohead). The result is songs like "Insinuation" (hear it on RealAudio or MP3), with country strumming and scratchy wah-wah guitar behind fluid "Revolver"-era harmonies, and "Molly" (RA, MP3), on which Blake's blues guitar licks play peek-a-boo with the increasingly nasty funk-style vocals. It's "Red House" and "Our House" and "Brick House" all in one.
It's not easy to make rock and roll that packs this much energy without always hitting the gas, but Mattingly says the medium-tempo tunes win people over even if it takes a few listens, which he attributes to the band's songwriting approach. "I think it all starts with the songs; it starts with people clicking, too," he says. "Those things all started with acoustic songs they don't start with a drummer, which will change the way a song sounds." So before the music goes electric, it's already got an emphasis on writing, singing and harmonies. It just gets bigger and better when they get in front of a crowd, kick in the drums and turn on the juice.
|APRIL 30, 2001|
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