If you’re looking for some good-time, get-down groove – a bit of funky soul mixed with a slightly country twang, you’ve found it in this marvel from Kansas City’s Scotch Hollow and their new album, Little Tortuga. A (currently) 6-piece outfit, they know how to move and slink along in a very warm and smile-inducing manner. Nevermind the fact that the album sounds great, it swings and you cannot help but get a vibe, especially listening to lead singer Carley Martin’s rich voice, a buoyancy which sometimes gives off shades of Bonnie Raitt. The playing by her comrades is stellar and fluid – this is one to listen to, start to finish.
“Hocus Pocus” is a harmonica and organ driven romp where, automatically, Ms. Martin cuts loose and the band rollicks along; the deft guitar on “Kansas City Pepper” leads this rolling and bouncing track along at a steady, joyful clip – a blues-y country romp and the slower, more outwardly country “Drop In The Bucket” shows their range. This makes a lot of sense as “Too Bad Poor Boy”, which is sung partially as a duet between Ms. Martin and (I’m presuming) guitarist Mark Verbeck and then mostly by Mr. Verbeck is done with such great gusto and breakneck speed and mixes a breakneck country shuffle beat and fast slide-directed blues licks, played on a Resonator; again, extending their obvious wide skills as a band. The Delta-Resonator sound is perfect for the title track, “Little Tortuga”, which vocals are traded off between Mr. Verbeck and Ms. Martin; “Moanin’ At Midnight” is one of my favorites with the interplay between the slide runs and harmonica playing alongside and around one another (with a great honkytonk piano undertone in the mix) and “City By The Sea”, which closes out the set is my other favorite with its tempered riffing and 100-mile hour old-fashioned duet, with watertight harmonies.
Impressed? Indeed, I am. Enjoying this album? Yes. It’s hard not to find several things to like. Another new band for me to now begin watching; I’m hopeful others will take Scotch Hollow and drink them in. Because we all could use a little funky sunlight in our musical lives.
Little Tortuga is available now