Andy Poxon – Must Be Crazy | Album Review

andypoxoncdAndy Poxon – Must Be Crazy

Eller Soul Records

13 tracks

The red headed guitar wiz kid is back for his third album and it’s a superb one!  Sporting a much shorter hair style on the album cover and photos, his trimmed back mane does not detract from his prowess on the six string!  Featuring  13 new original tunes written by Poxon with some help on a few by Kevin McKendree (his keyboard player) and on one by McKendree’s 14 year old son, Yates, this is another impressive effort by this fine young East Coast musician!  In addition to those mentioned we have Kenneth Blivens on drums, Steve Mackey on bass and Jim Hoke on saxophones.  Excellent backing musicians all, they add a lot of depth and soul to this CD.

The albums opens to the strains of the title track. A stinging guitar lead is vibrant with solid vocals by Poxon.  The piano and horns are integral to the mix and add a great dimension.  The song is a winner!  “Living Alone” follows; Andy tells us that living alone is not as bad as you would think, especially after a bad break up.  Saving money, spending money on yourself, playing guitar, not having any restrictions are positives.  He offers a cool little solo on his guitar, too, in addition to the fun lyrics.  Poxon and Company swing to “Next to You,” a song that easily could be a Room Full of Blues hit.  Poxon and the band are tight and shout out the chorus together.  Poxon’s guitar solo is clean and precise, the horns are well orchestrated, the keys are pounding and it’s just another great tune!

“Give Me the Chance” slows things down and Poxon sings with passion and the McCrary Sisters behind him help to testify along with his impassioned plea.  Poxon offers another solo with bite and vigor.  “Cold Weather” is sloooow and dirty blues, the kind lovers get up to and grind together on the dance floor as the guitar is picked with greasy and dirty aplomb.  The intro lasts about a minute before Poxon wails about being a remedy for cold weather.  Another great solo by Poxon adds to the intensity before he closes things out.  On “Don’t Tell Your Mama” we get another great original tune where Poxon has a story to tell.  Nice piano solo followed by a nice guitar solo here, too.  The organ returns on “Harder Everyday”as Andy sings a mournful ballad and the band supports the mood. You can feel the pain in his voice and their playing.

“I Want To Know” has a bit of a bounce as the horns reply to each of the lines of the verse.  Andy tries to understand the mind of his woman as he asks over and over how to make this girl fall in love with him.  He picks out a distinctive and precise, slow beat on his solo which fits the song nicely.  He stays with a slow beat in “Already Gone,” a breathy cut where he sings of a relation gone sour. Chloe Kohanski is also mournful behind his vocals as a drum beats out a slow beat and the organ slides in around their vocals.

The pace picks up nicely with “Making a Fool,” a mid to faster tempos tome about his clumsiness and ability to do what the title says.  He ignores his friends’ pleas about impending heartbreak and sings to tell about it.  A cool little swing tune with the guitar and piano supporting each other.  The guitar solo is stinging again as Poxon plays with feeling.  “Don’t Tell Me What to Do” is another slow bluesy ballad where Poxon is adamant about not taking direction from his woman.  Really cool and well done stuff here.  With “Too Late” Poxon and the band take a musical stroll in what appears to be a little bit of a take off on Freddie King.

Poxon concludes with “Rebound” where he and the organ introduce and provide the main basis of this instrumental tune. Yates McKendree helped write the song and appears on organ.  Well paced and cool, the song works as Poxon picks at the strings and McKendree deftly fingers the keys.  Nicely done once again!

Now 20 years old, Poxon is an experienced musician who has released three great CDs in four years.  I think he’s got a bright future as each of his CDs show growth from the prior and build on their level of excellence.  He’s a fantastic guitar player, singer and songwriter- I highly recommend this CD!

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