Thursday, September 28, 2017

Your Pop Gem Of The Week: Jeff Matthews

I believe it was my old pal and Burning Wood colleague who recently said, "Supergroups don't always make super music." While that may be true---see Asia, circa 1982---the new E.P. from Jeff Matthews, "Loyal Opposition," says otherwise.

Maybe "supergroup" is a bit much, but with a genuine guitar hero named Earl Slick offering up some of his tastiest licks, and madman pop genius Mark Hudson on keys, backing vocals and production duties, super isn't that far of a stretch. Rounding things out is the powerhouse rhythm section of Joan Matthews on bass, mother of drummer David Matthews, whose band Lovejoy is currently on tour behind their new release, and Jon Weiswasser, selling out houses across the world as the drummer of Eaglemania.  Jeff Matthews, guitar and lead vocals, is surrounded by the "toppermost of the poppermost." Oh! Grammy award winning producer Mario J. McNulty, who has worked with David Bowie and Prince and countless others, is behind the boards. So, yeah. I am okay with "supergroup." It helps that I love these tunes.

I live for songs like "Unintended Consequences." There is no need to "play it a few more times," or "be in the right head." This one has enough hooks snag a pike. I tried, but I cannot get it out of my brain. The title track is another winner, with Earl Slick ripping through another classic solo on a song that would not be out of place on an 80's Kinks record.

The E.P. drops tomorrow in all your favorite places. A nice way to rock into the weekend.


buzzbabyjesus said...

Twas me who said it about Gizmodrome. When I wrote that I was thinking of the more recent "Super Heavy", while simultaneously, in my mind, acknowledging that CSN&Y did pretty good.

I like both songs right off the bat, but prefer the geography in "Loyal Opposition".
Terrific solo by Earl Slick.

It's hard for me to think of them as a"Super Group" since he is the only one I've heard of.

buzzbabyjesus said...

My bad, I'm familiar with Mark Hudson, and The Hudson Brothers. "Long Long Day" was the opener and title to a Weekend Mix.

"Loyal Opposition" is good enough to fit on a '70's Kinks album.

Ironically there is a new Super Group in Jazz called Hudson, coming to Lincoln Center next week, consisting of Drummer Jack DeJohnette, Bassist Larry Grenadier, John Medeski on Keys, and John Scofield on Guitar.

I'll be playing that this weekend.

Jeff in Denton TX said...

While all supergroups certainly aren't super, I'd like to defend Asia circa 1982. I still contend that their eponymous debut album was quite solid, with excellent production by the late, great Mike Stone (whose Eighties work sounds far less dated than many of his contemporaries). It combined prog virtuosity with pop-rock melodic and songwriting sensibilities (no song was over 6 minutes long). It was this combination that led many to cry "sellout"--the album sold more copies than any individual Yes, ELP, or King Crimson album and spent 2 months at the top of the Billboard 200 album chart. I still enjoy it (and, to a lesser extent, its 1983 follow-up Alpha), though not as much as the overall output of Yes (who are in my personal top 5 favorite artists).
I probably won't convince anyone, but though I'd defend what I feel was an unjustly maligned (at least until Steve Howe left) supergroup.

Sal Nunziato said...

In 1982, I was still very much a prog head, even though I went head first into punk and new wave. When I read about Asia, I was beyond excited. When it finally was released, I felt like someone had played a terrible joke on me. I did NOT want short songs, with Carl Palmer playing rock beats in 4/4, with the whole mess drowning in 80's reverb. It felt like another one of those one hit wonder, MTV hair bands I couldn't bear to see and hear.

Time has been kind and while I don't love Asia, I do appreciate what you're saying in their defense. I've come around to not minding the first album at all. Still, in 1982, it was a major disappointment for me, hence the reference in the post.

Unknown said...

Hey, can you two drop the discussion about "supergroups" and pay more attention to me?
(Luv ya Sal, thanks for the review)