Michael Lloyd Band ~ Highwaters
Date: Saturday, February 04, 2006 @ 09:07:30 UTC
Artist: Michael Lloyd Band
CD: Highwaters EP
Home: Denver, Colorado
Quote: "People, if you ain’t moving your booty to this one, you’re dead."
By Jamie Anderson
I love my job. Instead of having to visit a hundred clubs, I just have to sit back and wait for my editor to send me amazing indie CDs. This is one of them. It’s a rock/funk/jazz disc rich with hooky piano riffs and solid musicianship. There’s a little bit of retro here, like The Crusaders met up with Elton John (in his Madman Across the Water period) in a smoky club and jammed the night away. And people, if you ain’t moving your booty to this one, you’re dead.
Mike Liguori holds down the songwriting, lead vocals and keyboard duties, the arrangements built around his clear expressive voice and piano. Sporting a Dave Matthews sensibility, he sings about tragedy, relationships and bank robbing, sometimes all in the same cut. “Highwaters” is a love song with a great Bruce Hornsby-like piano solo in the middle. “45 at a Time” has a cool Hammond organ sound, horns, drums and more, uh huh. “So Easily” is a melancholy ballad with a tasty acoustic bass from Gonzalo Teppa. “Leave Well Enough Alone” is Norah Jones mellow but the lush pop arrangement wouldn’t dare medicate you into sleep.
“Wildfire” is about the biggest wildfire in the history of Colorado. Jefferson Hamer channels Bela Fleck, playing his banjo in tandem with Liguori’s piano. It’s not bluegrass but some wonderful hybrid that any jazz fusion fan would enjoy. In fact, every guy in this band is talented. Not one of them is a “Hey I do this one thing well so I’ll do it over and over again” kind of musician. Versatile and interesting, the arrangements are complex but with plenty of space so you don’t feel like it’s a giant boxing ring and they’re all fighting for that big solo.
Buy this album. You may not love your job as much as I love mine but for the 26 minutes of this EP you can pretend you’re as lucky.