This upcoming Wednesday, April 3rd my brother and I will be doing a concert together for the first time in almost 11 years. Going over some of our old material I was brought back to some of the Salt the Band information that I wanted to share.
Album reviews for Mr. Brown (www.myspace.com/salttheband)
I can’t remember if I had ever heard Salt The Band before. With their edgy guitar work that sounds a lot like Greg Kihn or The Knack, and their vocals remind me a lot of Dwight Twilley, this band seems to me that they have some pretty good musical roots. This is clearly indicated with “Mercy” the first cut on the album. The arrangement of the instrumentation, along with how the overall song is structured, is done nicely. With that, they take you into a radio DJ rap with “Cruz’n.” Roy Salmond produces the band here, as he does on the whole album, allowing them to be themselves in the studio. Written by Chris Ritchie (vocals and guitars in the band) and Troy Ritchie (also vocals and guitars), these two brothers show that their writing talent is quite true and on course. I think I like “Second Wind” just about the best on the album. Its edgy and current sound is quite topical and expressive. What does that mean? It means that my kids will like listening to it while I know that it deals with something that we can all relate to. I’ll let you listen to the song so that you can figure out what I’m talking about a little bit more. By the time I get to “Insanity” I realize I want to go through this band’s music collection and see what they’ve been listening to. I know its got to be a lot more current than what is in mine, but I’m sure I’m hearing some Average White Band and Sly And The Family Stone in there, along with some DC Talk and P.O.D. I’ve now decided that I’m not going to give this album to my 13 year old son. Not that I would be afraid of him listening to it. It’s just the opposite. I think this is one I want to keep in my car. Did I mention that I also heard a little bit of Iron Butterfly here? Okay, I’m showing my age and I know it. But I’m glad that there is a band that’s not afraid to include a Hammond B3 organ solo even if its done on today’s modern keyboard technology (John O’Malley has a great touch on the keys). “Hammer In My Hand” takes you in a totally different direction than where these boys of six have taken you previously. Reminding me a lot of Peter Gabriel, Darren Timpe’s percussion work is finely tuned to fit in here. More importantly is the lyrical content of this song. Dealing with the crucifixion of Jesus Christ, the band paints a picture that places you there on that hilltop that fateful day. Bryan Wall’s bass work is flat out tight in the beginning of “Lead The Way,” as is Jason Deuman’s electric guitar work which carries the song with its distortion and wah-wah pedal. It sounds like he had fun with this one. The song is funky and melodic at the same moment. Not an easy thing to do. “Show A Little Love” starts off with the boys goofing off before the song starts. Unfortunately the hanging loose continues throughout the song. It doesn’t show their true musical abilities and honestly doesn’t fit the rest of the album. Yes, this probably works well in concert, or when singing in front of a bunch of teens, but if you’re wanting to cover the overall audience, I feel as though you could haven’t found a better way to express yourselves. Thank goodness things tighten up a lot with “Chuck.” With the “Farfisa” sounding organ setting the pace and the tone for the song, this still isn’t the best tune of the album. By the time you’ve made it to “All To You” you’re ready for things to slow down. Probably the slowest song on the album, it still contains the edge that this band will probably be known for. There’s no “fluffy” strings or anything to sugarcoat this song over with. It’s definitely a Praise And Worship song that could be sung in front of youth groups. So when you hear the song title “Amazing Grace” you expect something to be very hymnal in its presentation. I’m glad that Salt the Band took it in another direction. Don’t get me wrong. They don’t take anything away from the original construction of the song. But you have to realize that in this day and time, the youth aren’t going to sit in church and sing the hymns the way their parents did. Heck, I don’t even sing them the way my parents did. The buildup this band allows to happen on this song is nothing short of wonderful and makes you want to hit the repeat button on the CD player. What’s really nice is that they show their faith in how they perform this song, and don’t try to drown it out musically with instrumentation. Great job boys. Let me hear more of this. The album segues right into a very acoustic intro of “Spiritual Senses.” That’s good for about 16 bars before these boys decide its time to crank it up again and move forward. The album finishes off with “Cause For Celebration” which is almost hillbilly in its sound in the beginning, sort of a “Stray Cats” vibe to it. That doesn’t stay that way too long as the band stamps its own identity to it. Listening to this album I realize Salt The Band has a lot of room to grow. I’m interested to hear what their next project will sound like now that they have this one finished. I expect good things out of this group.
Christianity Today Album Review Salt the Band Modern/alternative rock
It’s incredible that Salt the Band hasn’t gotten more exposure via a recording contract or national radio play – don’t be surprised if that happens in the next year or two. The Seattle quintet got its start playing special music for local churches as far back as 1997, recording two demo albums because of popular demand, including the simply titled Worship Project X. After much prayerful consideration, STB decided to take their music ministry to the next level, employing the talents of local acclaimed producer Roy Salmond to help create their first proper album. Mr. Brown is an excellent modern/alternative rock album that rivals a number of major Christian acts: Audio Adrenaline, All Star United, Third Day, and Daily Planet to name a few. Yet despite the numerous comparisons, STB still maintains their own hook-laden and melodic rock sound, peppered with the occasionally funky riff. “Second Wind” is a terrific pop/rock anthem in the same vein as “Turn” by the Paul Colman Trio, and “Insanity” is a great funk rocker with a simplistic but infectious chorus – “You’ll go insane without Jesus” – that teens will quickly embrace. “Hammer in My Hand” graphically describes the crucifixion of Christ and how our sin nailed him there, alternating stylistically between a bombastic rock ballad reminiscent of Queen and an upbeat chorus similar to R.E.M. I don’t have enough space here to do this album justice, because most all of the tracks are excellent. Let’s just say if you’re a fan of modern rock as heard on Christian Hit or Rock Radio, STB’s album is a safe bet. Go directly to their site and listen to the tracks yourself. If you’ve ever wanted to be into a band before they broke big, now’s your chance.
The Album reviews were great, by the time we were offered a recording contract (Fervent Records after they signed Big Daddy Weave and By the Tree) the band was in the defunk. Oh what could have been? If you are in Vegas check out our show, you won’t be disappointed.