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


About the Author

Rob Ross

Rob Ross has been, for good, bad or indifferent, involved in the music industry for over 30 years - first as guitarist/singer/songwriter with The Punch Line, then as freelance journalist, producer and manager to working for independent and major record labels. He resides in Staten Island, New York with his wife and cats; he works out a lot, reads voraciously, loves Big Star and his orange Gretsch. Doesn't that make him neat?

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