By Nate "Igor" Smith
By Abel Folgar
By Kat Bein
By Jacob Katel
By Karli Evans
By Jose D. Duran
By Pablo Chacon Alvarez
Chance Gardner and the Blues Daddies
Easy Come and Easy Go(Manawa Records)
Born in Cuba and fried from birth on Southern blues, good old rock and roll, and Latin rhythms, Chance Gardner is a bizarrely twisted cowboy-boots-clad bald man. This effort yields 15 tracks for almost an hour's worth of songs brought to life via percussive elements, serpentine harmonicas, and a friggin' ukulele. The influence of the band's frequent gigs in the Hawaiian islands certainly comes through. "1/2 a Cigarette's Time," "Molokai Crab," "Schoolbully Blues," and "Devil's Working Overtime" bring a nice thematically responsible counterbalance to the closer, simply titled "Jesus." This album is for straightforward fans of the blues à la Lightning Hopkins and the Holmes Brothers.
Acoustify Yourself (self-released)
Tom Gorrio has officially become South Florida's hardest-working man in the biz. How? Through perseverance and talent. This collection of 10 tracks was recorded in 2004 and has been made available to coincide with his recent appearance at the Athens [Georgia] Popfest held by Happy Happy Birthday to Me Records. With Baby Calendar and Call It Radar behind him, Gorrio now concentrates on his solo work. This album is a good starting point, and fans will see why his formula works: It's simple and catchy. This git can twang his guitar pretty good, and his voice ain't bad either. Opener "No Stars Here" gets it going with bubblegum pop before a little mellow punk punches halfway through with "Converse, Plugs, and Studded Belts," followed by a little español mixing it up with "In a Spanish Voice." This is nice acoustic stuff.
Chocolate Soul (SMG Music Group)
Chocolate Soul is exactly that. Well, it's Eric Stinnett's chocolate soul, and that means jazz-driven R&B ditties peppered with hip-hop-oriented sprechgesang. The arrangements are jazzy throughout, relying minimally on computerized effects. The songs will certainly appeal to ladies who like to jam slowly at home. The standouts are the funny/sexy "Whiplash" and the acoustic-guitar-driven "Jack of All Trades." The bonus track effectively uses a percussive doo-wop style, nicely rounding out this debut. Stinnett gigs semi-regularly throughout South Florida, either solo or with his hip-hop fusion outfit, Dangerflow. Check him out, 'cause he wants to quit his day job.