Review: The Groove Merchants (Self-Titled)

Artist: The Groove Merchants
Album: Self-titled (LISTEN)
Release Date: Jul. 24, 2015
Genre: Blues/Funk/Rock

One thing a music lover will notice about The Groove Merchants is their prowess as musicians. They are seasoned beyond their years, and are only getting better with the recent addition of trumpeter Dylan Hinnershitz.

Their self-titled album was released in July, before the addition of Hinnershitz. However, it is an impressive introduction to this emerging funk rock juggernaut out of Kutztown.

That introduction is made right away, with the opening track, “John the Savage.” Tye Vallone’s smooth vocals are accompanied by funky rhythms from bassist John Evin Groome and drummer Anthony Guidotti, while guitarist Luke Ferracone shows some impressive guitar chops on his first solo of the record.

Overall, a listener gets the sense that this band’s creative process is fun and fluid. A track like “Modern Days” is an enjoyable six-minute ride that goes unexpected places, while album closer “Uhuru” is a slow-building jam that knocks on the door before kicking it down about five and a half minutes in, bringing the song and album to a climax with an exhilarating wall of sound.

The Groove Merchants offer some softer moments on this album. “Monster” is a love song that seems ripe for an acoustic set or album, while “Princess Please” is a beautiful ballad that has the potential to be used for a romantic candlelit dinner or the first dance at a wedding.

While the band continues to evolve its sound with the addition of horns, The Groove Merchants’ first effort is as solid an opening statement as you’ll find from a young band. The excitement to see where they go from here is palpable.

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