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From Miller Place, New York: Martini Garden - CD review

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JJ Rocks article # 286:
Martini Garden CD review for Give a little love. 

Band members:
Christine LoPiano - vocals
Ed DiPaola - harmonica
Jim LoPiano - guitar
Mike Clout - harmonica
Mike McBride - drums
Miriam Hubbard - background vocals
Rich Cunningham - Bass
Steve Clout - Guitar

Im happy to write about a band that is keeping the sound of the 60s alive while displaying lyrical versatility combined with classic grooves and fine musicianship throughout. This band is Martini Garden from Miller Place, New York, USA

Track # 1: Meaning of Rock and Roll

Cool Boogie Woogie guitar complimented by super sweet harmonica sets up the feel for song that has down home lyrics and a great hook! A great first choice.

Track # 2: In love

Simplicity and right to the point are the first words that come to mind with this song. Its also counter pointed by a slick drum groove not usually found in a love song that adds just the right amount of spice to the overall coolness of the tune. 

Track # 3: You can say

Heres another love song but in a classy bluesy package. The guitar reminds me of some of my favorite blues jams! A real classic guitar intro and song groove that defines blues guitar shuffles. Cool solo also! And as you can hear, the whole band savors the feel as if they lived it for a long time.  

Track # 4: Heart on my sleeve

This is where Martini Garden displays their virtuosity with a slow jazzy feel as the whole band just seems to melt into the groove. It seems that love, Blues/Jazz, and heartfelt lyrics flow throughout this CD. But I have to say, I love the jazzy hazy room aura of this song. It brings back a lot of gigs that I loved.

Track # 5: Im in love with you

This is another one of my favorites from Martini Garden. A groove that takes me back to the very happy days of my youth with a smooth hook that is very catchy.

Track # 6: Key to my heart

A nice acoustic guitar combined with well written lyrics. A pleasant change in mood from the other songs on the CD. Smooth and performed with great comprehension of what they were delivering.

Track # 7: Martini Beach

This one features nice male vocals from their drummer Mike McBride. A cool island feel with some Mexican flavors that will get you wanting to kick your feet in the sand with a chilled margarita in one hand while trying to play beach volley ball with the other. I can relate to that! 

Track # 8: Midas

A slight funk feel with a blues progression that nails it. I also really like the lyrics to this one. I think all guys should listen to it if they are ever wondering how to treat their special lady.

Track # 9: Waiting on your love

This is a classic Woodstock feel combined with more love lyrics. The hook is catchy but a bit mundane. So just sit back and sway to this one. Even though the lyrics probably connect with many people, I think at this point in the CD these type of words are kind of being overstated for todays market for one collection. But hey, I dont think these guys care about that. They just seem to be creating from reflections of their most fun musical times in life. Im ready to join that club.

Track # 10: If you dont love me

Well, this groove makes me want to fire up some incense with the slight bit of funk meets LA 1967. But I can tell one thing lyrically, someone in this band just may have had their heart broken one too many times. I think that the sad songs are starting to be as many as the happy ones. At least they sound happy singing them all. Now that I think of it, many songs from the era that they are reflecting do focus on the heart. Even if they were happy songs.

Track # 11:  Complete

More of the same feel and heartbreak. This song is so like other songs on this CD I just cant find much to say about it except they are at least consistent with their musical image as a tight band of good players with a love for classic grooves. I can respect that. 

Track # 12: Made to travel on

Yeah! I can relate to this! I love traveling songs if they have cool lyrics, especially if they are performed with classic chord progressions. And I can picture all the scenes in this story! Great work guys! Im coming back to this one.

Track # 13: Without a doubt this is my favorite vocal performance by Christine LoPiano. Top notch! Great feeling with simple acoustic guitar backgrounds. Just what the music doctor ordered for the end of a hard day. Sit back and enjoy! 

Track # 14: Thats the moment

Another shining star from Christine LoPiano as her vocals are surrounded by a kind of secret agent vibe mixed with that classic opening band at Woodstock feeling. I really like the drums on this one! Its very slick and cool. Almost has a bit of a beatnik aura.

Track # 15: Give a little love

A song that is well placed on their CD as it has a closing kind of feel that still maintains their overall concept. And with a nice strong hook this song leaves you singing! The ending is perfect for this collection. I can see why it is the title cut!

Martini Garden is carrying on a tradition spawned in the 60s when light funk type grooves met with traditional blues progressions and made a musical bed just fit for lyrics of love, traveling, and sometimes even heartaches. But anyway you look at it, their music is right on the table with no underlying meanings, spaced out lyrics, or fancy licks that you find in many bands that are just out to make a big noise. These guys write and perform like real everyday people with nothing up their sleeve. They are maintaining a tradition from a time when love ruled and speaking your mind was king.
Here is a link to their profile.

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