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Kentucky Monkey

Kentucky Monkey

June 22, 2010
5.0 out of 5 stars 1 customer review

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Format: MP3 Music
In the three years since Poetry n' Lotion first started performing around the Bay area, the instrumental foursome has evolved their old-meets-new brand of acoustic jazz and bluegrass into a plugged-in sound that incorporates elements of hard, psychedelic and progressive rock, roots reggae, samba, gypsy jazz, ragtime, and even Irish folk music.

Having carved out a tidy niche for themselves in the local live scene, the members of PNL are finally prepared to prove their capabilities in the studio with their debut recording, Kentucky Monkey. [Album art by AZBA, Alexis Ziritt of Calavera Comics and S. Bradley Askew aka Smile Maker].

I got some background on the album from guitarist/occasional keyboardist Matt E. Lee.

The band credits Kentucky Monkey's high production quality to Owen Meats and Dillon Griffiths of Short Circuit Studio. The album was recorded with their help in a mere two days and on the first, mandolin player Jim Page was so sick he had to bow out. So Lee, bassist Tom Murray, and drummer John Nowicki focused on finishing all the rhythms. Nowicki arrived prepared and laid down his beats with such proficiency that most of his parts on the album are first takes -- no small feat. The rest was recorded the following day with all four members present, and instrumental texture was added a little later. When the foursome was finally happy with it, SCS stepped in to mix and master the recording.

The seven-track album encompasses the band's core suite of originals. While the familiar songs get the studio treatment, they don't lose their PNL appeal -- a clear and present playfulness in approach and execution paired with undeniable musicianship and a tendency to shift rhythms and jump between genres within a single song.
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