CD: 11 Songs, 61:01 Minutes
Styles: Contemporary Electric Blues Rock, Horn Blues, All Original Songs
Ms. Rainey Wetnight would like to propose a bargain with the Universe. For every destructive, senseless disaster like Hurricanes Harvey and Irma, there has to be at least one work of art – especially musical – released to lift our spirits twice as much as they were lowered during said natural disaster. It’s a perfect time to pay tribute to a band that encapsulates all that is Florida: Tucci, from Sarasota, and their latest album Olivia. Its cover art features a bright orange hibiscus, and their brand of blues rock is just as colorful. Granted, they lean far to the “rock” side of this subgenre, but their endless-summer energy suits it just fine. Ever seen one of those multi-hued shirts male tourists wear with straw hats in the heat of those months (or in the movies)? Olivia’s eleven original tracks are like that: flashy, exploding with color, sensory overloads. Pro tip: When you’re an ensemble band, it’s a good idea to balance the instrumentation on a more-than-occasional basis. That way listeners can admire particular chords, refrains and solos. (I may not be a musician myself, but I have two close friends who make the best sound-crew duo ever.) Regardless, Tucci encapsulates what makes Florida great: sunshine, high energy, and good times.
According to publicist Marc Pucci Media, “The Sarasota-based Tucci band has been a mainstay of the Florida festival and club circuit over the years, developing a solid fan base…Steve Tucci summed up the band’s direction thusly, ‘I believe a quote from [the late, great] Dan Toler is appropriate: ‘It is the duty of the dedicated musician to educate the listeners as to what high- quality music is. This task should not be the role of the music business industry, which is more financially-oriented as opposed to creatively-oriented’.”
The core band consists of Steve Tucci on guitar and vocals; Michael Tucci on drums; Shawn Murphy (male) on vocals and sax, and Harry DeBusk on bass and vocals. Special guests include Larry McCray on guitar and vocals; guitarist Dan Toler; Donnie Richards on Hammond B3 organ; Ira Stanley on slide guitar; Dan Ryan on keyboards; Al Owen on vocals, and Bob Dielman on guitar.
The following three songs showcase the brightness of this posse and the Sunshine State as well.
Track 02: “Olivia” – Featuring horns to die for, combined with Ira Stanley’s sassy slide guitar, it’ll make crowds in person or at home get up and dance. The verses are poetic and evocative, but the chorus boils them down to their love-struck essence. “My heart – your smile – Olivia! My soul – your grace – Olivia!” Her name is a cry of triumph, the moniker of a goddess instead of a mere mortal woman. May we be so lucky to find one like her in our own lives (or an “Olivier”, as the case may be).
Track 06: “Hey Florida” – Fans of the Allman Brothers will be fans of this number. Switching on a dime from minor-key mystery to a major-key rock fest, its lyrics are paradoxical: “Hey, Florida, you’ve got to try that blues,” Steve Tucci sings, extolling the virtues of his home state. “Well, plenty of sunshine and white-sugar beaches, too.” Dig those bongos in the background!
Track 09: “Play by the Rules” – Three words: Wicked good guitar. Dan Toler is the superstar featured here, along with Tucci for company. Out of all the blues rock tracks on this CD, this is the bluesiest by far. I found myself swaying back and forth in my chair to this one.
Looking for Florida fun, even at home? Olivia will give you a great blues-rocking time!