CD: 10 Songs; 45:31 Minutes
Styles: Contemporary Electric Blues Rock, Roots, Eclectic Blues
When I was a teenager, I went to church youth group gatherings where we often watched a Christian comedian. His brand of comedy was deemed “Humor with a Message,” combining Biblical principles with hilarious monologues about adolescent goings-on. Likewise, Montreal’s blues/roots band The Snyders’ third album, Reaching Higher, has “Music with a Message.” It may not champion a specific faith, but in terms of promoting universal harmony, it’s spot-on. Quite a few lyrics border on preachy (“We’re chasing fear out of here with love. We’re chasing fear out of here with truth!”). However, in our world’s divisive political climate, they’re sorely needed. The Snyders’ overall musical style is what some would call “eclectic,” combining blues, rock, roots and soul/jazz in nine original numbers and one traditional tune (“People Get Ready”). They possess a consistent, moderate energy that won’t put listeners to sleep, but neither will it make them bounce off the walls. Vocally, they’re also in the middle tier of range and talent, even though female lead Lorrie Snyder tries to venture into Mariah Carey territory on some high notes. Their tone is conversational, their songwriting unsubtle, and their chemistry congenial.
According to their website, accessible to their French-and-English-speaking fans, “The Snyders, formed in the summer of 2011 in Montréal, is a family blues/roots band that digs deeply from many styles of music. The family unit is comprised of Indiana born blues-rocker Southside Denny Snyder – vocalist/lead guitarist (aka blues artist Southside Denny), his daughter Lorrie Snyder on Vocals/Bass (21 years old) and his son Phil Snyder on the drums (17 years of age)… For the past 30 years, Southside Denny has garnered the reputation of a legendary blues rocker in his own right with 9 album releases, and performing at may notable blues clubs and festivals in 20 states and 5 Canadian provinces…The trio recorded their first album together (The Snyders, March 2012) and made numerous concert appearances on both sides of the border.” They’ve also played countless festivals, most in Ontario and Quebec, but also Indiana and Michigan.
This CD’s opener is a classic-sounding guitar instrumental, specifically geared for party time:
Track 01: “Snyder Slider” – Instrumentals are the one area where this familial trio truly shines, and their first offering is no exception. It shows why Southside Denny has been performing for the previous three decades, because his slide guitar is some of the hottest barbecue sauce that will ever slather one’s ears – inside and out. When it comes to hamburgers, “sliders” are supposed to do just that once you take a bite, going down nice and easy. Without a doubt, this one’s got a raging kick. Lorrie Snyder’s bass line, though understated, provides smooth contrast.
Whether one will enjoy Reaching Higher or not will depend on three things: 1) a hankering for wholesome, positive music; 2) open-mindedness toward the more experimental tracks, such as its closer “Crazy Mike,” and 3) patience for vocals that are still maturing. The Snyders’ number-one strength is in their message, not their mechanics, so keep that in mind as you listen, blues fans!