Blue Cat Groove – Unconditional | Album Review

Blue Cat Groove – Unconditional

Self-Produced/Blue Cat Groove Music

CD: 10 Songs, 29:45 Minutes

Styles: Contemporary Electric Blues Rock

Ever heard the saying, “It takes money to make money?” One can’t make a Martin Scorsese film on a Kerry Conran budget (he directed Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow.) Nor can one produce a Buddy Guy CD on a budget such as Central New England’s Blue Cat Groove might have had for their new album, Unconditional. What it lacks in studio polish and slick editing, it makes up in heart. It’s no wonder that this quartet loves blues and soul the way a cat loves a toy full of “nip.” Not only that, but they play halfway-decent guitar and can lay down an intro with more notes than Walter Trout can fathom. The lead vocals might be dry, but a lot of people like their wine that way – otherwise Chardonnay and Cabernet Sauvignon wouldn’t be so popular. It’s never too late to achieve your dreams of playing the blues, as these Cats know well.

The “About Us” section of their website states: “Blue Cat Groove is an award-nominated ‘rhythm and blues band touring planet Earth and elsewhere!’ with the right combination of ‘A little rhythm, a little blues and a whole lotta soul!’ [It’s] led by Samuel Bowen who has toured, recorded and performed for over twenty-five years taking his music from the United States to the shores of Ireland. Sam, an accomplished guitarist singer/songwriter, has had his music nominated for awards from Massachusetts to Nashville, Tennessee.” Does that sound a bit sparse? Look on their homepage for a link to my fellow writer Marty Gunther’s review of their debut offering, Too Much Talk. Hopefully, as they gain more publicity, they’ll add to their bio and list of accolades. One of the best features of their site is a selection of tunes to peruse.

The Cats are Samuel Bowen on lead guitar, Kimberly Hodgens-Smith on lead and background vocals, Vinnie DePolo on percussion and drums, and Jeff “The Dr.” Oosterman on bass.

This CD’s opening number is undoubtedly its best, with a guitar intro that’ll intrigue listeners.

Track 01: “Where Does the Heart Go” – Suave and catchy, track number one has a swinging beat and a touch of brass in Kimberly Hodgens-Smith’s vocals. “I’m only flesh and blood. That’s all I am,” she states matter-of-factly. “That’s all there is, but it’s more than enough, for I’m wired – wired for love. Put your ear to my chest and you can hear it…” Yow! One of the best parts of this tune is how much oomph Jeff “The Dr.” Oosterman puts into his bass. Sometimes, on other songs and with other artists, it fades into the background. Not here, and that’s a wonderful thing.

Ready for some low-key blues rock? Give the Blue Cat Groove an Unconditional spin or two.

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