Raising the Roof!
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Powerhouse Records announces a March 3, 2008, release date for Raising the Roof, the new album from guitarist extraordinaire Tom Principato and his band
Long-acknowledged as one of the premier guitarists in the world, Tom Principato s latest CD builds on the universal acclaim for his 2005 release, Guitar Gumbo, which won awards from the Washington Area Music Association (WAMA) for Best Blues Recording and Best Blues Vocalist. With these new honors, Tom has now won a total of 22 Wammies. In addition, a song from that album, If Love Is Blind, written by Dave Kitchen, was named Song of the Year.
In addition to Principato on guitar and vocals, the band features John Perry on bass and backup vocals, Joe Wells on drums and Josh Howell on congas and percussion.
On Raising the Roof, the Tom Principato Band is joined by long-time DC-area favorite Tommy Lepson, who contributes his soulful Hammond B3 organ playing and vocals, as well as several other special guests. The new album showcases nine songs (including 6 originals) that demonstrate the breadth of Tom s musical influences ranging from blues, jazz and rock, to funk, reggae and New Orleans sounds.
The three covers include a jazzy workout of Jimmy Smith s 8 Counts for Rita, a cooking take on J.J. Cale s Lies, and a new version of Louis Jordan s Fish Fry that brings on the funk and Jamaican flavors to this R&B classic, a long-time staple of the band s live shows.
Don t be surprised if Raising the Roof! also raises the number of Wammie Awards that blues guitarist Tom Principato has collected over the years -- 23 at last count.
Recorded in College Park, Md. save for one track, Principato's new album is a rocking, grooving session featuring Hammond B-3 organist Tommy Lepson. It opens with three tunes written (or co-written) by Principato: Lock and Key, a serving of gumbo funk peppered with chunky, extended chord guitar riffs and Chris Watling's resonating baritone sax; Too Damn Funky, a slithery instrumental that lives up to its billing as soon as Lepson applies some elbow grease; and In the Middle of the Night, a haunting reggae ballad that features Principato and co-composer Lepson sharing soulful vocals.
Eventually a few cover tunes that further reflect Principato's varied tastes come into focus: J.J. Cale's Lies,& Jimmy Smith's 8 Counts for Rita and the Louis Jordan hit Fish Fry. Each is given a fresh spin, though the twangy tribute to Smith is particularly colorful and engaging, an expansive showcase not only for Telecaster master Principato but for Lepson, bassist John Perry and drummer Joe Wells.
Capping the album is a live recording of Principato's loose and lighthearted They Called for 'Stormy Monday' (But 'Mustang Sally' Is Just as Bad), complete with lots of T-Bone Walker-evoking fretwork. --Mike Joyce The Washington Post Feb. 22, 2008
Principato has long been known as a fine guitar player, but here production and vocals take him to a new level. There's plenty of the stuff you expect from Principato, including funky New Orleans-style rock like Lock and Key, with horns, organ and precise chording; Fender heaven on the solos. Too Damn Funky is exactly that, with a nasty solo and cool chordal work on the outro. Mi Solea is an emotional instrumental that gives Principato a chance to show his stuff. His soloing is as clever and on-the-money as you want. The same goes for the workout on Jimmy Smith's 8 Counts For Rita. It's old fashioned greasy, funky soul feel lets Principato show off nice changes and great licks. And the closer, They Called For Stormy Monday (But Mustang Sally Is Just As Bad!) will definately find a sympathetic ear in every working musician. Recorded live and with a perfect rendition of the Bobby Blue Bland/Allman Brothers versions of Stormy Monday, it's lyrics have been adapted to include every song and in some cases every band any musician over the age of 30 is sick of playing.
The good news is, with releases like this one, Tom's bringing new and varied music to that
realm. --John Heidt-Vintage Guitar Magazine June, 2008
It's difficult to understand why this blues-rocking Telecaster master isn't a major contemporary blues/roots star. Principato is sure talented enough and he's been leaving mouths agape with his classy yet searing guitar pyrotechnics over the United States and Europe for the better part of four decades. A solid new album, appropriately titled Raising The Roof!, might help spread the word, but he's most at home when peeling the paint from Blind Willie's walls with his slashing solos. Hal Horowitz-Atlanta Creative Loafing
DC based bluesman Tom Principato comes out swinging straight from note 1. The band is on fire and burning as they crank out blues tinged funk, jazz rock and straight blues. They jam like Jeff Beck and Elvin Bishop and Principato can unleash Latin spice like Santana. Everything they do is done with a tasty flair and that includes a moving tribute to NOLA called Fish Fry and his equally feeling tribute to LA women in Lock and Key. The Hammond, the percussion, the rhythm section and Tom s axe aid and abet while giving comfort to the grateful ears who get to hear this Southern gentleman lay it on down. The cuts are extended and fine musical expressions filled with original riffs and style. Even the closer commands attention with its witty lyrics and title They called for Stormy Monday (but Mustang Sally Is Just as Bad!) . Recorded live, the cut is ROTFL and it rolls it done. Hoo-hah, this Washington legend belts one past the Beltway in a home run. 9 snaves Doctor Blues Long Island Blues Society March 24, 2008 --Atlanta Creative Loafing/Long Island Blues Soc.
Top customer reviews
...Principato is sure talented enough and he's been leaving mouths agape with his classy yet searing guitar pyrotechnics over the United States and Europe for the better part of four decades. A solid new album, appropriately titled "Raising The Roof!", might help spread the word, but he's most at home when peeling the paint from Blind Willie's walls with his slashing solos. Hal Horowitz-Atlanta Creative Loafing
Tom Principato is one of a few naturally gifted guitarists who just plain know how to sing via the instrument - Beck, Clapton, Hendrix, Santana, and Vaughn are others who quickly come to mind. And a little ways into this disc, you know why he named it Raising the Roof. If your tastes turn to masterful R&B with strong jazz, funk, and New Orleans accents, don't let Raising the Roof pass you by. David J. Cantor Soundstage
All hail the blue Wammy king. And king he is, as Washington D.C.'s longstanding blues fixture. Tom Principato has garnered a truckload of those local WAMA awards in recognition of excellence for everything from "Best Instrumentalist" and "Best Blues Vocalist" to "Best Blues Album" and "Best Blues Group". To date, it's a dynasty built on 22 so-called Wammies--but there's always room for more on the mantle. So all you Capital area bands, beware--consider Raising The Roof! as a current nomination package. Dennis Rozanski Baltimore Blues Society-Bluesrag
Ask any successful blues guitarist to identify his or her favorite peers, and Tom Principato's name will likely get mentioned. Principato has many fans in Europe, and at 55, he's the rare artist whose musicianship, singing and songwriting continue to improve with age. Raising the Roof! is one of the best recordings yet from the guitarist-vocalist. Ed Kopp Jazziz Magazine
On his latest release, Principato continues to demonstrate his versatility, with a well-rounded set of nine tracks that showcase his fluid playing and vocals. Whether he is laying down Latin rhythms on the catchy Santana-like instrumental cut Bo Bo's Groove featuring absolutely mesmerizing soaring solos, or re-working a jump blues classic such as Louis Jordan's Saturday Night Fish Fry, Principato hits the mark repeatedly. Raising The Roof! is another in a long line of solid efforts from Principato, an artist deserving of far greater recognition. Dave Ruthenberg Living Blues magazine April 2008
DC based bluesman Tom Principato comes out swinging straight from note 1. The band is on fire and burning as they crank out blues tinged funk, jazz rock and straight blues. They jam like Jeff Beck and Elvin Bishop and Principato can unleash Latin spice like Santana. Everything they do is done with a tasty flair and that includes a moving tribute to NOLA called "Fish Fry" and his equally feeling tribute to LA women in "Lock and Key." Hoo-hah, this Washington legend belts one past the Beltway in a home run. 9 snaves Doctor Blues - Long Island Blues Society - March 24, 2008
Tom Principato is one of the most exciting guitarists on the contemporary scene today. Hailing from Washington, DC, he has won just about every award given out by the Washington Area Music Association, and he's played with the likes of Big Mama Thornton, Jimmy Thackery, and Danny Gatton. His Powerhouse Records release of "Raising The Roof" is an adventurous romp thru nine cuts, (six originals) of a gorgeous gumbo of blues, soul, funk, reggae, and general good times a-rollin'! Get your copy today and ENJOY!!! Sheryl and Don Crow. Music City Blues Soc. newsletter
Principato, a long-established guitarist in the Washington, DC area, works off a diverse musical palette with blues, and complements of funk, jazz, latin rock and New Orleans R&B. To his credit he projects ease of delivery and gives shape and logic to even his most fierce playing. The former Powerhouse bandleader locates the joy in songs from J.J. Cale, Louis Jordan, and Jimmy Smith, respectively. Frank-John Hadley Down Beat magazine May, 2008
"Raising the Roof!" is a gem of a find that really sticks with you for a long time. This is the first album by Tom Principato I've ever owned (I just had to buy this album after first seeing Tom Principato live in concert), and now that Mr. Principato is re-releasing this album in the new remastered and re-mixed format, it truly gets the sonic treatment that it deserves.
Before I get to the album itself, I'd like to comment on this RE-MASTERED and REMIXED 2012 edition. Tom Principato worked with Bob Dawson of Bias Studios to improve the original release, and the result is a dramatic improvement in sound quality over the original. This edition benefits from a wide and well-balanced sound stage that is considerably clearer, warmer, and much livelier than the original. Also, a new track has been added to this release: Tom Principato's live performance of "Don't Wanna Do It" (from his "Part of Me" CD) recorded at Montreux Jazz Festival in Switzerland in 2011.
One of the real strengths of "Raising the Roof!" is the originality of style and compositions, and what a delightful blend of styles. If you asked me which style this album is, I'd have to say it's roots music, or, maybe more appropriately, roots stew: the songs contain elements of blues, rock, funk, soul, New Orleans stylings, and even reggae. Tom Principato's own compositions on this album are infused with his own worldview and contain his original trademark stylings, but his compositions are also very well informed of some of the best and most organic music out there.
Tom Principato's guitar solos are blistering and yet always melodic and expressive throughout the album. Just check out the stunningly beautiful instrumental track called Mi Solea! But whatever the song, every lick in Mr. Principato's solos has a purpose, and the style of his solos changes quite a lot depending on the mood and style of the song. Mr. Principato does not employ a rhythm guitarist and instead weaves his own rhythm guitar work through his vocals and seamlessly integrates his rhythm guitar into his solos. Just attend his live show, and you'll see what I mean.
But while Mr. Principato is no doubt one of the best guitar players in the world, he is also a very competent vocalist who can belt out heart-tugging ballads and punctuate the bluesier songs with delightful growl. The story has it that after Tom Principato and his band opened for Lynyrd Skynyrd at the WolfTrap back in 2011, the lead vocalist for Skynyrd came up to Tom Principato after the show and complimented him on his vocals, as well as on the entire performance. Many times when you listen to Tom Principato's stellar guitar work, you sort of take his vocals for granted, but his singing is undoubtedly an integral part of his unique sound and definitely shines on this album.
All the musicians playing on this album are top-notch local talent from the Washington, DC, area, and everyone turns in inspired, soulful, and masterful performances. The band benefits greatly from Josh Howell on percussion and Tommy Lepson on organ, while Joe Wells on drums and John Perry on bass provide a rock-solid rhythm section that keeps things rocking and rolling with superb energy and passion.
Whether you enjoy rock or blues or roots music, this CD is full of great American music, untarnished by the steady decline of the music industry. Highly recommended.
If you dislike the sound of a one-celled hammond-organism (Sorry Frank) there is allot of it on this CD.