By John Berbrich
FCE Staff 

Pocket the Black by Lazy Eye (2016) Produced by Lazy Eye

 

Last updated 4/2/2017 at 6:30am | View PDF

Pocket The Black

Pocket the Black, the latest recording from Australia's award-winning blues trio Lazy Eye, has been, for me, a warm and friendly introduction to The Band. The 10-song CD was recorded live at Chapel Lane Studios in Adelaide, South Australia, in June of 2016, in front of a small audience, and that intimate atmosphere has been faithfully captured and reproduced on this recording.

I've enjoyed listening to this CD so much and I want to tell you about it, but first let me introduce the personnel: Evan Whetter on vocals, organ, and harmonica; Erica Graf on guitar and backing vocals; and Mario Marino on drums and backing vocals. As a unit The Band is tight and playful, and they don't try to overpower you with pyrotechnics. The blues they play is tinged with soul wisps of Booker T & the MGs and even Smokey Robinson. And Lazy Eye has written all the songs. Whetter's organ is bright and upfront-it's a Hammond, with those beautiful textured rich tones.

One thing I found remarkable is that there's no bass guitar here. Marino lays down the beat and sets the pace, leaving Whetter and Graf to carry the tune and chop out the rhythm; there's a wonderful interchange between the organ and guitar in many of the instrumental sections. Erica Graf is a subtle and talented guitarist who delights the listener with her extraordinarily complex licks. Again, she doesn't overwhelm you with cranked up distortion-she plays it clean and straight, providing whatever the song requires.

At the top I mentioned award-winning. Back in 2013, Lazy Eye's debut recording Move Me won the South Australian Blues and Roots Award for Album of the Year. In 2014, they were named Best Group of the Year by Fowler's Live Music Awards, and they won the South Australian Blues & Roots Award for Most Outstanding Group. In 2015, they were named Best Group by the Australian Blues Awards.

And they deserve it all. The three are thoroughly professional musicians. The timing, so vital when working in a recognized genre, is precise. You'll hear all sorts of standard blues tropes, but the players add their own unique spin-so the music is familiar yet new simultaneously. Right now my favorite is "It Ain't Right," a slick, rapid-fire complaint about the way the singer was treated last night. But he's not letting it get him down-Monday he'll be gone. There's nothing lugubrious here. This is not lachrymose blues; no, you keep moving on. So if you want to cry in your beer, this is not your album. But if you want to feel good, tap your feet, and groove to smooth blues played with precision and verve, this is the one for you.

https://lazyeyeblues.bandcamp.com/album/pocket-the-black

 

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