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alpha blue's crystal ball

alpha blue  "AGAVE SUMMER"

     This Albuquerque based band is very unique! They bring a blend of folk, rock, and jazz with a healthy dose of inspiration. The instrumentation includes the pleasantly differentiated use of acoustic and electric guitar, drums, percussion [diverse], piano, accordion, saxophone, oboe and french horn. Add some bewitching vocals and you possess the basic ingredients of alpha blue's new CD, "Agave Summer". I do not see any category singles on the CD--rather a sort of folk rock opera, a work that should be listened to and enjoyed in it's entirety. Almost all of the songs were penned by group member, Debo [vocals, piano, accordion, percussion]. Some of the highlights include:

     Opening the CD is "Memories", a bouncing minor keyed piano kicks off a folk influenced jazz background with predominant saxophone [guest Jonnie Grimes], slippery bass [Michael Grimes] and drums [Zoom Crespin]. From the captivating first vocals by Debo weaving the story of how memories haunt to the dreamlike vocal break in the middle of the tune, you will find yourself drawn into the music.

     The offbeat polka-like "Yer Drinkin' Yerself To Death Blues" cavorts around a story of a friend who is drowning in drink. Debo's vocals take on a megaphone filtered articulation. The accordion and piano create a lighthearted perception of this friend's self-unconscious and desperate situation.

Click here to buy the CD

     Rapidly picked mandolin over a jazzy folk-infused backdrop of piano, guitar, bass and drums opens "190 Angels". This pretty tune shows off the diversity of the band as Keith Levine shares the vocals with Debo and adds beautiful acoustic guitar solos.

     "Hope"  opens with a mbira [African thumb piano] sound created on a keyboard. Debo and Keith share the vocal load harmonizing on the verses. There is a pretty guitar solo by Keith with great guitar underpinnings throughout the song. 

     Cossack dance inspired accordion opens "Ain't Life Grand". Strong bass line and backbeat drumming set the stage for Debo to track two vocals. If your foot isn't tapping, your not turning it up loud enough!

     "Love Me Up"  opens with Debo chanting while Keith scrubs guitar with a thick distorted sound.  The tune has a 60's psychedelic "Tull" overtone. Keith belts out an inspired guitar solo.

     Finger picked guitar joined with bass, drums and french horn set the backdrop for the beautiful, "Words To Tell You". Debo's unique vocal phrasing adds dimension to the song.

     The mellow "When You Get There" is a soft rock song with intertwined piano and guitar. Michael's sliding bass style lends itself to expanding the reach of this tune. Debo's double tracked vocals and keyboards ride on top of Zoom's relaxed sounding but perfectly on-time drumming.

     Alpha Blue is unlike any other band I have heard. They are enjoyable, highly listenable, and totally unique. They offer their listeners an enlightened expansion of what can be accomplished through music.  They will have appeal to a wide audience but require the listener to pay attention--or they will miss out on subtle elements that create the magic of their sound. You can find their CD for sale here and you can hear them live if you travel through Albuquerque, NM where they are local favorites. ~ audiogrid.com

Debo and Keith sharing vocals

Debo smiles for you...