Horojo Trio – Set the Record | Album Review

Horojo Trio – Set the Record

Stony Plain Records – 2022


11 Tracks; 43 minutes

Holger Petersen’s Canadian Independent roots music record label, Stony Plains Records, is known for only focusing on truly top-notch musicians (including artists such as Ronnie Earl, Duke Robillard, Colin James and Monkey Junk).  It’s not surprising that Horojo Trio was signed to that label, as each member of the trio is clearly extremely talented, and together they form quite the powerhouse group.  After randomly jamming together at a charity event, they formed a band using the first two letters of each of their surnames and went on to win the overall best band award at the 2020 International Blues Challenge (a competition where the band’s guitarist was also selected to win the best guitarist award).

The band consists of singer/keyboardist Jeff Rogers, guitarist/singer JW-Jones, and drummer Jamie Holmes and, for their debut album, they joined with Dick Cooper and Steve Strongman to co-write all of the tracks.  It opens with a very up-tempo blues-rock song, “Man of Steel”, and then leads into what they do best—some outstanding soul-blues numbers, with “A Little Bit Goes a Long Way” and “Set the Record Straight”.  While all three are phenomenal musicians, it is Rogers’ vocals which are likely to grab the listener’s attention the most. His vocals are powerful, clear, charismatic, emotive and with a beautiful tone.  The guitar and keyboard solos are tasteful throughout all of the tracks, and never overdone.

There are also some very clever lyrics on this album.  For example, a one-night stand that led to a world of trouble leads to a very engaging story in “Set the Record Straight”, and in “Stay Crazy” the listener is encouraged not to be like those who “color inside the lines, always do what they are told…they do what’s expected…they wither on the vine.”  In “Give and Take” a toxic relationship is cleverly described, noting “I call it a one-way street, you call it give and take…You give me part-time lovin’ and I’m here 24/7. The more I give the more you take.”  Some excellent lyrics can also be found in “The Night”, which describes how “Midnight holds the answers, but it sure ain’t telling me…I’m looking for the lady that will make everything alright, who will take away my trouble and hep me find the light.  But until then—my refuge is the night.”

Strict blues purists might be disappointed that the only classic slow blues on this album can be found in the middle section of the up-tempo “Real Deal” track, but anyone who appreciates a contemporary sound with excellent musicians and a very soulful singer will want to add Set the Record to their collection.

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