Downchild. The name says it all.
Their newest release, Can You Hear the Music is a gem in the crown of Canada’s ultimate blues band. This get-up and dance-the-night away cd takes you by storm and they’re “movin and grooving like there’s no tomorrow.”
The band consists of Donnie “Mr. Downchild” Walsh on guitar and harmonica, Chuck Jackson with lead vocals, Gary Kendall on bass, Michael Fonfara on keyboard, sax player Pat Carey, drummer Mike Fitzpatrick, and Peter Jeffery on trumpet. Donnie Walsh is still cranking out the fresh songs that bop with the blues. He’s produced the new release and wrote nine of the songs.
And in case you’ve been living in a cave all your life, Downchild was the inspiration for The Blues Brothers. Enough said.
From the moment the horn section hits on the title track Can You Hear The Music you are ready to boogie.
Chuck Sings: “Can you hear the music?
There must be a party nearby
I don’t know where it’s coming from.
Sounds like it’s up in the sky”
You know you’re about to embark on a musical journey sporting your dancing shoes.
I’m Always Here for You is up next featuring a strong beat and great horn work. Chuck totally dominates with his vocals and Donnie steps front and center with a sizzling guitar solo.
Chuck wails I Need A Woman and I wonder if every woman in the room wants to jump up and say “Pick me”. It’s a guttural, but lively ballad. Again Donnie pulls off a spectacular guitar solo.
Blue Moon Blues is a bluesy ballad that allows you to sit back, relax and take a load of your feet. It’s a short break before you’re off again and you need to Fasten Your Seatbelt. The horn work here is superb and Gary Kendall keeps it all together with his superb bass playing.. You “better hold on tight” cause there’s some great harmonica jamming coming your way and great sax blowing by Pat Carey.
And then you’re travelling on This Road with Donnie leading it off with a lazy country-like slide-guitar intertwined with solid keyboarding.
Then Chuck’s composition of Mississippi Queen brings you some swamp blues with a driving drum beat and some funky keyboard support. Who could this woman be? According to Chuck this woman now lives in Canada, but he won’t identify her.
Other tunes include the smooth One In A Million, the rocking Don’t Wait Up For Me and jump and shout magic with Gary Kendall’s Worn In. The cd wraps up with Scattered, an instrumental with harping that just blows you away.
This cd brings you the jump-blues Downchild is famous for. You just can’t help but dance. They still flip, flop and fly.
This CD is unique and thoroughly enjoyable, and the Sam the Record Man cover brings on nostalgia of a bygone era.
Can You Hear the Music has garnered a Juno nomination for best blues cd, and this is the cd that deserves to win. Every song is an award-winner.