by Barry Kerzner
This article was originally published on American Blues Scene.
Since they came roaring out of Milwaukee, Wisconsin, in 2010, Tweed Funk has spread their unique brand of delicious funky blues across an unsuspecting musical landscape. Their previous two albums, Bringin It, and Love Is, were critically acclaimed, and hugely successful. The band has continued to tour, and fans can not get enough.
First Name Lucky, on Tweed Tone Records, is the third album release from this stellar band. The seven originals and four covers are filled with 39 minutes of sexy, soulful blues that will carry listeners back to a time when funk and soul were honest, and infected with the blues. The fellas wanted to produce an album that had a live feel, with a minimal amount of overdubs, and they have done so in an animated fashion. The sound quality and mix here is excellent. Throw this on, and instantly you are walking through the door of your favorite club, feeling the warmth of the music wash over you.
Personnel here are Smokey on vocals, JD Optekar on guitar, Eric Madunic on bass, and Nick Lang on skins. Rounding out the band are Jon Lovas on sax, and Kevin Klemme on trumpet. Brian “Looper” Lucas plays harp on “Get It On.” Backing vocals are Chrissy Dzioba and Sara Moilanen.
Tweed Funk has given fans an album chock full of enticing funk and blues that moves this sonic feast along, carrying the listener right along with it. Our favorite cuts include the opener, “Blues In My Soul,” reeling us in with its alluring guitar, grooving bass, and perfect horn accents. B.B. King’s “Let The Good Times Roll,” is a good time romp, in the Stax soul tradition. “Divided” is slow and mellow, with JD Optekar delivering a beautifully simple, expressive guitar solo. The band really has a great time on “I Got Loaded” and it shows, starting with the great beat, superb guitar and uplifting horns, all nicely topped off with Smokey’s energetic vocal. A lively “Knock On Wood” is enthusiastically performed, with the horns again providing an added level of texture and depth.
As First Name Lucky shows, Tweed Funk is continuing to explore, and grow. This album is a seriously good time. Take it home, throw it on, and let it melt your troubles away.