John Ginty and Aster Pheonix – Rockers
1. The Shark - 3:42 2. Lucky 13 - 5:25 3. Believe in Smoke - 3:15 4. Target on the Ground - 5:15 5. Captain Hook - 3:45 6. Mountains Have My Name - 6:18 7. Mr. Blues - 4:06 8. Wkya Radio (Skit) - 1:00 9. Priscilla - 4:08 10. Electric - 5:00 11. Maybe If You Catch Me - 3:42 12. Rockers - 4:26
John Ginty (piano, B3 organ, melodica, percussion) , Aster Pheonyx (vocals, acoustic guitar) , Justine Gardner (bass) , Maurice “mOe” Watson (drums, backing vocals) , Mike Buckman / Jimmy Bennett / Josh Ganet (guitars) , Paul Kuzik (bass)
1. bluesblastmagazine.com - Marty Gunther
New Jersey-based John Ginty is one of the most in-demand sidemen and electrifying keyboard players on the planet, and he demonstrates it once again as he teams with vocalist Aster Pheonyx for his third solo album.
As the title implies, this one’s more rock slanted than his two 2015 releases, Bad News Travels Live, which garnered Ginty a Blues Blast Music Award nomination, or No Filter, which garnered Roots Music Report’s blues-rock album of the year. But it does contain enough blues- and soul-rooted music to keep fans interested.
John’s background is nothing short of diverse. He’s spent years backing a plethora of talent across the music spectrum, including stints with Jewel, Carlos Santana, sacred steel sensation Robert Randolph, hip-hop star Redman and world tours with the Dixie Chicks, among others.
Pheonyx is a multi-instrumentalist who started out as a keyboard player, but was fronting her own band in her hometown of Asbury Park, N.J., and had released two albums of her own when she and Ginty met at the famed Wonder Bar, where he was appearing to promote No Filter and she was serving as his opening act. They jammed backstage, and John invited her to sit in. That performance was so magical that he asked her to join his band as lead vocalist. This all-original, 12-song CD is the result.
It features Ginty on Hammond organ, vintage vibe piano, melodica and percussion and Pheonyx on acoustic guitar. They’re backed by the sensational Justine Gardner on bass, Maurice “mOe” Watson on drums and backing vocals with assists from guitarists Mike Buckman, Jimmy Bennett, and Josh Gannet and bass player Paul Kuzik. Redman, aka Reggie Noble, provides spoken words on one number.
Gardner kicks off “The Shark” with a solitary bass line before the rhythm picks up and Ginty soars on the B-3. It’s a bluesy, soulful instrumental that puts John’s electrifying skills on display. Pheonyx’s earthy alto comes to the fore for “Lucky 13,” a rapid-fire, hard-edged rocker with some psychedelic overtones about an actress who “needs to do a hit” before portraying a casualty of war, the role of a lifetime.
The funky “Believe In Smoke” follows, aided by another solid run at the bottom of the scale. Aster delivers it with plenty of attitude. Listeners get an aural break for “Target On The Ground” as the music slows and quiets and Pheonyx’s delivery turns soulful for a song with deep spiritual overtones. The feel continues and the pace quickens slightly for “Captain Hook.” It urges the superior to assess what’s an unspoken, but tenuous military situation.
Ginty turns to the piano for a stop-time introduction to “Mountains Have My Name,” another soulful number, this one about a woman who doesn’t believe in growing old, before he reverts to organ for the propulsive “Mr. Blues,” about an award-winning, critical and demanding authority who wants “to give the rockers the door.”
Next up is “WKYA,” a spoken, 60-second skit that features Redman. It’s akin to a Firesign Theatre skit from the ’70s and deals with a druggie deejay interviewing an artist during his appearance at a radio station. The music softens again for the ballad “Priscilla” with Ginty soloing on melodica before the band’s in full-force strut for the rocker “Electric.” Aster shows a sultry, jazzy side for “Maybe If You Catch Me” before the disc ends with the title tune, “Rockers,” another instrumental.
Available through most major retailers, Rockers contains plenty of blues-flavored rock and soul for folks with open minds and open ears. While not a true blues album, it’s rock solid with outstanding musicianship on display throughout. If your listening habits include rock, you’ll definitely like this one. And if they don’t, you’ll probably find plenty here that you like, too.
Reviewer Marty Gunther has lived a blessed life. His first experience with live music came at the feet of the first generation of blues legends at the Newport Folk Festivals in the 1960s. A former member of the Chicago blues community, he’s a professional journalist and blues harmonica player who co-founded the Nucklebusters, one of the hardest working bands in South Florida.
2. lahoradelblues.com - 2017.05.30
El talento de John Ginty resalta en el oído de cualquier aficionado con un mínimo sentido del gusto al escuchar este disco que comentamos. No en vano Ginty posee una dilatada carrera que le ha llevado a tocar un sinnúmero de estilos musicales que abarcan desde el rock al hip-hop, el blues o incluso el jazz. Con tres discos a sus espaldas publicados bajo su propio nombre, para esta cuarta entrega John decidió contar con la inestimable colaboración de la cantante Aster Pheonyx a la que conoció al acabar uno de sus conciertos en el legendario Wonder Bar de Asbury Park. Empezaron a tocar de forma improvisada en los camerinos y la química que surgió entre ambos fue realmente espectacular, y este disco es buena prueba de ello. Son doce canciones las que conforman este preciso y espléndido álbum. Además de John Ginty al Hammond B-3, piano y teclados y la poderosa y bien timbrada voz de Aster Pheonyx, el resto de la banda está formada por Mike Buckman a la guitarra, Justine Gardner al bajo y Maurice “Moe” Watson a la batería y voces. El disco ha sido producido por Ben Elliott junto al propio John Ginty que han sacado el máximo partido de un álbum que ya de por sí está muy bien trabajado. MUY BUENO.
John Ginty’s talent highlights in the ears of any music lover gifted with a minimum good taste every time he comes to listen to this album. Not in vain Ginty has a long career on his back that has led him to play a variety of musical styles ranging from rock to hip-hop, blues or even jazz. With three albums published under his own name, for this fourth one John decided to rely on the valuable collaboration of singer Aster Pheonyx he met at the end of one of his shows in legendary Wonder Bar in Asbury Park. They started jamming in the backstage and the chemistry that arose between them was really amazing and this album really proves it. Twelve songs form this precise and splendid recording. Besides John Ginty on Hammond B-3, piano and keyboards and Aster Pheonyx’s powerful well pitched voice, the rest of band members are Mike Buckman on guitar, Justine Gardner on bass and Maurice "Moe" Watson on drums and backing vocals. The album has been produced by Ben Elliott and John Ginty himself. Both have managed to round up a cd that already was very well conceived and performed. VERY GOOD.
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