When I wrote about organizers picking the dates for the next edition of the Syracuse Area Music Awards last week — that would be March 6 and 7, at Upstairs at the Dinosaur and the Palace Theatre, respectively — I bragged on how talented the musicians are around here.
Lo and behold, that started a new flurry to my mailbox, the one outside my house and the one inside my iPad. Five examples of new stuff within a week made their way to my ears. And so I will share some thoughts.
Mick Fury and Midnight Moonshine “Sunday Funday”
Excitable front man Mick Fury has gone country. The last time Fury was sending me notes, his band was called Silent Fury. They rocked. A lot of people loved them. Fury set up a special gig at the Cummings Theater in Cazenovia, and sold the place out.
So what does he do? He convinces band mates Joe Nasty and Greg “Goose” LaPoint to go country. Then he added Max McKee on guitar, Amy Doan on violin, Michael Burns on slide guitar and Mallory Mitchell on cello. Fury picks up a banjo in addition to his acoustic guitar, too.
The result is a five-song EP that’s darn good country, with a just enough of a rocking edge to remind listeners of the kind of stuff that’s getting played on country radio these days.
The lead-off song, “Sunday Funday,” is quite catchy. It’s got that little something that will keep melody and verses kicking around your head. “Shotgun Girl,” “Summer” and “Old Man” advance the cause. The closing cut, “Danger Zone,” brings back fond memories of Tom Cruise and Anthony Edwards up there in “Top Gun.”
Mick Fury and Midnight Moonshine will play at a release party at 7 p.m. Dec. 4 at the Westcott Theater in Syracuse. Tickets are $10 in advance, $12 at the door.
The rock-pop sound from foursome HoneySpoon is quite sweet, indeed.
Singer Billy Golicki, trejon player David Wynn, violinist-singer Leila Dean and percussionist Kevin Dean have crafted an EP that goes down smooth and is good for ails you.
“Whoa” is a love song with a rich feel that brings the best of John Mellencamp to mind.
“Kill Me Every Time” starts with a whistle and ends with a clap. In between is a cool country feel.
“Better Than That” showcases Leila Dean’s fiddle sound and voice on a song that declares that love should be more.
Snappy stuff, like you’d expect from a collection of Central New York veteran musicians. Leila Dean has Just a Memory on her resume. Her husband Kevin is a force with Brand New Sin and Hobo Graffiti. Golicki has been a solo artist of late, but used to be in a Texas band with the great name Texas: The Band.
Michael “OurReality” Childs
Hip-hop guru Michael Childs is the performing star on the video “Rhythm of Life.”
Known for his work as the brains of Red Brick Records and a performer with DeadWate — and more — on this video under his latest OurReality brand, he’s an MC with a mission, rapping old school and setting quite a cool spell.
The words come fast, and Childs cuts a formidable figure on the screen as he acts out his story.
Jus One has produced a video that’s crisp, fast and quite well-done.
When Childs delivers the line “each and every chance, I give it all that I’ve got,” you believe every word.
Altared “Eclectic Amalgamation”
Altared serves up a modern Christian sound.
This 12-song CD features the pretty voice of Katrina Marie Eason and versatile musicianship of Daniel Seth Eason. They represent Central New York as a ministry as well as a band.
The music praises with a passion, from the beautiful opener “Call on His Name” to the soaring acoustic “Carry Me” to the radio-worthy “Without You” and the cool closer “Jesus Rocked the World.
The Easons enlist an ensemble of talented musicians for their live shows. They recently returned from a tour of North Carolina in support of “Eclectic Amalgamation,” and plan a Central New York release party for January. Their music is getting worldwide play on Christian outlets.
Fritz’s Polka Band “The WSKG Sessions”
The polka band that could again proudly strides out of Verona, N.Y., to deliver its versatile sound to the world.
“The WSKG Sessions” is a two-CD set culled from Fritz’s Polka Band’s four taping sessions for the “Let’s Polka” TV show in the Vestal, N.Y., studio on one busy day, Feb. 4, 2012.
It’s the band’s 18th album, a long and happy road from the days that dad Fred Scherz taught son Fritz how to join him on the accordion, and started a band around the two-accordion sound.
Fritz officially released the new one on Nov. 1. He picked that day because it marked the fourth anniversary of the last time his dad Fred played a tune on the accordion with Fritz before passing away from a battle with cancer on Nov. 14, 2009.
FPB fans wanted another album, Fritz says, and he loved these batch of songs performed live in the TV studio before longtime guitarist Tom Campbell retired.
It’s a happy 40 or so songs, displaying once again that although polka is in the band name and in his heart, Fritz knows how to lead his band through a variety of originals and favorites in many styles. Rock and country and folk, no problem. The Swiss style was a particular love for kind gentleman Fred Scherz.
Disc two includes the instrumental “Bialczak’s Polka,” an affectionate instrumental written by the Scherz’s almost two decades ago, after they discovered that my father, Frank, was a drummer in a polka band on Long Island. I got the chance to send the original album with the song to my father before he died of a heart attack, and his surprise and delight registered in his voice on the next phone call. For that I will always be grateful.