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THE GUITAR & WHISKEY CLUB The Guitar & Whiskey Club EP

By Jay Roberts, Massachusetts Contributor
Sunday, October 16, 2022 @ 9:02 AM

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The Guitar & Whiskey Club
The Orchard/Sony Music - 2022

In this day and age, pretty much all advance issues of albums comes via streaming links. It's pretty easy to skip through all the ones I get inundated with each week. But when a PR push puts forth the effort to send out an actual physical copy, that really gets my interest piqued.

Such was the case with the self-titled debut EP from THE GUITAR & WHISKEY CLUB (aka GWC). I received an unsolicited copy of the album in the mail and figured I would give it a listen. This turned out to be a really good decision on my part because what I ended up getting was a rollicking blues driven rock and roll appetizer that will hopefully lead to a full-length main course in due time.

The five track EP opens with the song "Rebel Fire". It's got an immediate earworm feel to it the music. Fully uptempo with a vibrant rocking edginess to it, the song serves as a great introduction to the combined talents of the band. For me, this song stood out most for singer Mark Prudeaux's vocals. I may not have heard of the singer before now but he does not lack for the ability to make an instant impression. His vocals soar high and yet when the need arises for a more down in muck kind of style, he hits his mark easily as well.

The band was founded by guitarist Jeffrey Donovan, who wrote or co-wrote each of the songs on the EP and plays most of the music on the album. The drum work is handled by Adam Ponce. And I have to say that I came away really impressed with Donovan's work. Not just with his playing but I liked the mixture of styles used to comprise his songwriting. It is mostly hard charging blues rock material but the way he shades things so each song has a different kind of nuance to it was rather invigorating to me.

On "Sleazy", the song is actually a bit faster moving than "Rebel Fire" and Donovan's shredding is fantastic throughout the track. And that playing is actually elevated even more when the song hits the guitar solo. Man, I was LOVING the solo in this song! I will say that the one thing that confused me a little was why the song had "explicit" on the album's liner notes next to the song title. For a song that is said to be "rooted in bad decisions...", the lyrics didn't really seem all that potentially controversial to me. It took me a few spins of the song to realize the band drops a "F-bomb" at one point. I don't consider that to be explicit but that's just me. Either way, this is just a straight ahead great sounding track.

Now, as much as I enjoyed those two songs, the EP really started to gather me in even more with the song "I Know". While the music and production is clearly rooted in the present, the lyrical content and anthemic nature of the song (about a dying relationship) is an absolute blast from the past style. I think this track, which starts out with more of a mid-tempo pace before picking up the speed to get you all riled up. In baseball terminology, THE GUITAR & WHISKEY CLUB hit it out of the park on this track. From Mark Prudeaux's perfectly delivered vocals to the music which serves to uplift the song to bigger heights.

Blues rock, rock and roll, classic rock...whatever you want to call the style of music the GWC play, the band continues to blow out your ear drums with an absolute crushing rocker on "Does Your Dog Bite". After a VERY short intro, the music kickstarts the track into a fiery explosion that showcases the band at their most relentlessly aggressive.

The closing number, "Lone Cowboy", takes the band on a decidedly different path. It's the longest song on the EP and that gives Jeffrey Donovan a bigger musical tapestry to play with, particularly with his playing throughout the song. In turn, "Lone Cowboy" gets to have more of an epic feel to it. When I first heard the song, I immediately thought of a band comparison but I didn't want to just make the connection in a willy-nilly offhand way. But as I dug into the lyrics, I really felt that the song reminding me of something you might've heard from BAD COMPANY back in the day was actually quite an apt comparison after all. Now, the song does spend the first half or so of it's running time in more of a slow burn tempo, but when you get to the extended outro and the guitar playing gets even more time in the sun, you can see where the band just has that indescribeable "X-Factor" working overtime for them.

(I should note that the PR notes that came with the CD lists Mark Prudeaux (vocals), Jeffrey Donovan (guitars), Frankie Yanno (bass) and David Carbajal (drums) as the band's apparent current lineup.)

With only five songs with which to entice listeners, THE GUITAR & WHISKEY CLUB's self-titled EP has to make a pretty big impression in a short amount of time. But the band manages that task with aplomb, putting forth a sweet selection of tracks that successfully combines the best of that blues-driven classic rock echoing from the past while standing firmly in the here and now...rocking your balls off!

5.0 Out Of 5.0

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