Cass Clayton Band – Cass Clayton Band
Cass Clayton is a rising star in the Colorado area and is noted for her vocal and slide guitar work. Here she stays off the guitar and instead features collaborator Taylor Scott on guitar as they blend rock, blues, funk, jazz and gospel. The album tends toward rock and funk and features all original tunes. The stories told are interesting, mostly dark and delivered with lots of feeling.
Cass shows off her soulfulness with the opening tune, “Let’s Not Be Friends.” Blending blues, rock and perhaps a little gospel, the tune starts things off well. “Phase of the Moon” has a touch of country blended into the mix of blues rock. Clayton delivers another nice performance and the trumpet adds a beautiful component to the ballad’s mix. The percussion and Dann Burke’s lead guitar give us a little funkiness in “When It Comes to My Heart.” Another story told with smokiness and power, Clayton shows her stuff once again.
“That’s What They Say” has Clayton cutting a little looser, showing more of that range and power that she has vocally. This ones a mid tempo funky sort of cut in a minor key that takes you up and down at the same time. “Still Water” is a country/southern rock sort of cut. The Hammond Organ gives a haunting, church like feel and the accordion takes things very rustic and folksy as does Scott’s acoustic guitar. Steady and flowing, the song evokes the feel of calm, still waters.
Things liven up with “Least A Brother Can Do;” a rousing guitar intro and a more upbeat approach gets things moving and this carries through the cut, showing us a different side of the band. Trumpet and sax add sweetly to the mix. “Used To Be” has a more haunting feel as the band starts off funky and Clayton adds distortion to her vocals. There is a pumping beat and the whole thing is fuzzed out is and offbeat-edly cool. Up next is “Last Thoughts,” parting comments to an ex-lover. Clayton again emotes the darker side of the feelings in a relationship. A somber Casio keyboard solo punctuates the feeling. Clayton builds to a big ending and shows power and range as she lets go. “Brother Interlude” is offered next with a driving rhythm guitar beat and lead guitar; very funky and very modernistic in the instrumental approach! Clayton concludes with “Sometimes,” a beautiful and thoughtful ballad. The drums drive the track along with a little bit of forcefulness and purpose. The pianos play back and forth with the vocal lead and make things interesting. It’s an interesting and cool song.
Joining Clayton are Taylor Scott on guitars and co-writing most songs, Geoff Gray on most song writing, Larry Thompson and Brian Claxton on drums and percussion, Todd Smallie and Chris Harris on bass, Tom Amend and John Wirtz on various forms of keys, Matt Wilkolak on trumpet and Jeff Miguel on sax for a cut. The songs are all interesting, crafted and delivered well, and the band is tight and together. Clayton’s vocals are always spot on.
All the songs are dark and express heavy feelings. A little more upbeat stuff in the mix would have spiced things up a bit. But originality is there, musician ship is there and the vocals are nicely delivered.
Clayton and company have a bright future and delivers some really fine original music!