Tag: Michigan

Feature LP: Tuxedo 10pm ET

TuxedoBefore he moved west and became a retro-soul dreamboat, lovers of roller skate disco and electro-funk in his hometown of Ann Arbor, Michigan knew Mayer Hawthorne as DJ Haircut, and his mixtape Shoot the Duck, Vol. 1 was a prized possession. The disco, post-disco, and boogie tracks on that mix provide the inspiration for Tuxedo, a band formed by Hawthorne and Jake One, a fellow lover of those sweet sounds. The two had exchanged similarly smooth and funky disco mixtapes in 2006, then years later decided to make their own version. Unsurprisingly to anyone who’s heard Hawthorne’s note-perfect take on ’60s soul, the duo proves to be masterful at re-creating the feel of the moment in the early ’80s when disco began to die out and was replaced by the funkier sounds of boogie and electric funk. The duo conjures up visceral memories of the finest artists of the era, from Atlantic Starr to Zapp, treating the source material with care and making sure to never make jokes or come off even a little bit ironic. From the drum machines to the synth settings, everything is just right. The songs, too, are like lost nuggets of the era; “Lost Lover” is pure Gap Band swagger, “The Right Time” sounds like Billy Ocean getting AM radio funky, and “Two Wrongs” is a lovely quiet storm ballad with a perfect guitar solo. A few could have even been hits back then, and in 2015’s post-“Get Lucky” landscape, too. The finger-popping “Do It” and “The Right Time” fit that bill. From beginning to end, the album is a happily reverent trip back to a time that’s too often ignored by both disco and funk fans. Hawthorne’s vocals are the only downside to the album. As on his soul albums, they are perfectly fine, smoother than silk and delivered with all the panache he can muster. One can’t help but wish that someone with a little more grit or fire was behind the mike, though; it might help the songs stick their landing just a little more. That being said, the vocals aren’t a huge problem and they certainly don’t distract from how much fun the album is. Maybe next time they get together Hawthorne and Jake One can park their talents behind the board, while Charlie Wilson or Steve Arrington set up behind the mike. Until then, Tuxedo is a fine display of the duo’s love for the electric funk disco sound, and their immense skill at re-creating it. 

Review by Tim Sendra (All Music)

Artist Countdown: Uncle Kracker Top 25 Tracks @radiomax @unclekracker

UncleKracker

Matthew Shafer (born June 6, 1974) is an American rock musician known as Uncle Kracker. His singles include “Follow Me”, “Smile”, and “Drift Away“. His music was more rap rock-based at the start of his career before turning in a more country rock influenced direction on later releases.

Shafer was born in Mississippi but raised in Harrison Township, Michigan. In 1987, with his brother Mike Shafer, he visited a nightclub in Clawson, Michigan where a turntables competition was occurring. His older brother was competing against a then-unknown musician, Kid Rock. Shafer then spent a lot of time with Kid Rock, and they became “best friends”. In those times, he was mainly rapping. He went to L’Anse Creuse High School. In 1994, Kid Rock asked Shafer to play turntables for his band called Twisted Brown Trucker. Shafer knew nothing of using turntables, but since his brother was an experienced DJ, he agreed. He only performed at live shows at the time, until he began recording for Rock’s album, Early Mornin’ Stoned Pimp; Shafer was a featured vocalist on some of the tracks. He then began working on a solo album, but he continued being the DJ for Kid Rock. Upon the release of Rock’s multi-platinum album, The History Of Rock, Shafer decided that it was time to release his first solo album, Double Wide.

Shafer has been married to his childhood sweetheart, Melanie Haas, since 1998. They have three daughters. (Source: wikipedia)

1 Follow Me
2 Smile
3 In a Little While
4 Drift Away (featuring Dobie Gray)
5 My Girlfriend
6 When the Sun Goes Down (with Kenny Chesney)
7 Good to Be Me (featuring Kid Rock)
8 Four Letter Word
9 Main Street
10 The Weight
11 I Don’t Know
12 Hey Hey Hey
13 Blue Skies
14 Livin’ The Dream
15 In Between Disasters
16 You Got That Thing
17 To Think I Used To Love You
18 Another Love Song
19 Rescue
20 Yeah, Yeah, Yeah
21 Songs About Me, Soongs About You
22 Memphis Soul Song
23 Nobody’s Sad on a Saturday Night
24 My Hometown
25 Writing It Down