21 Grams More - Soul Has Weight

 


Happy new year oregafam! How you living? We hope you enjoyed your holiday season this year, and here at Oregano Entertainment Network we would like to wish everyone the best year of your lives yet, especially after the worst year of many of our lives! Goodbye 2020, hello 2021, and welcome prosperity in a new decade!

Now that we’ve all drank ourselves under the table, slept off the hangover, popped a few excedrins, and gotten back up on the horse to a fresh new start, let me deliver my holiday present to you… an EP review from a group that is currently giving a beautiful facelift to a traditional American genre. A band from South Shore Boston Massachusetts that is bringing the blues, as well as the reds and whites to go with it! The group is called 21 Grams More, and their new album “Soul Has Weight” is a heavy mixture of blues, soul, gospel, and rock that takes the cake AND eats it too! It’s got all the right nodes your noggin needs for a nice musical blend, features some household names in the current industry, and leaves nothing to desire except spinning more. Well, enough of me crammin', lets git to jammin'! 

We hit the ignition, and fire things off with a steady driving guitar riff that serves as the backbone of “Leave You Blind” - the first track in the EP. This curiously prophetic riff presents a blueprint for the grit rock we’re about to perceive, as the rhythm section clicks in and rolls us down to bluesylvania baby! It’s a soul party, and you’re invited! But like a 90’s children’s toy commercial… Wait! There’s more! The vocals kick in to deliver that special sauce and like ketchup, mayo, horseradish on a sesame seed bun the singer's gravel hinted voice croons in perfect combo with the music. Chew on that for a minute, but leave room for dessert because we got solos! At 1:17, we’re met with a harp line that shreds so hard, Sargento would be jealous. Peel that back to the tasty guitar solos throughout the song, and the organ solo that stumbles into trippy town near the end for a sultry solo sandwich. And finally, just when you think you might be feeling the fever, they bring in THE COWBELL!...

Move over Mayfield, and make way for 21 Grams More! They’re taking us straight to Funkytown with "Wine from water" - an intoxicating rhythm that hits like Hennessee and slaps like a spatula. The rhythm section is really holding it down, with a groove that sinks into your bones and keeps you sedated like grandma’s chicken soup. As soon as the music hits, we’re walking down the street like a badass with black sunglasses and some spending money while bopping our shoulders and lookin' around for some trouble. And like the name of the band suggests, again there is more! I’m talking leads! We gotta give a special shout to the sweet Saxophone solo at around the two minute mark that pops right through the mix and starts rippin' like hulk hogan in a halter top. Oh what fun!

We dim the vibe down a bit with "11th Hour Boogie” - a slow moving, steamboat groove with a tight rhythm section that chugs along nice and steady. This song features improv slide guitar and wailin’ harp leads that really take it to lunch. And just when the flavor starts to hit, the vocals bust out to spread the syrup over this boogie blintze. Dig in to that creamy guitar solo and the only thing left is to powder the jam with some female voices, a super reverberant harp solo, and some sweet organ riffs. Yummy!

Look up, lay back, breathe in deep and experience “Northern Lights” - a slow riding blues ballad that projects a slightly softer side of 21 Grams More. Here we have a change of pace from the upbeat, funky blues numbers and I give the Oregastamp of approval for choosing this as a transitional tune. It starts out with a grand introduction like firing up a grill, and simmers right down to a super chill vibe. Some highlights to note in this track are the crying guitar solos paired with the smooth organ played by Marine Lacoste (Uncle Kracker/Corey Hart), and the backing vocals in the chorus that seal this golden goodie bag with a big ol’ bow.

Is it getting hot in here? NOPE that’s just 21 Grams More turning up the heat with "Love and Turpentine” - a gritty rock roller that features smokey-toned string licks, a deep cut vocal delivery and a gospel style chorus that steers the message into harbor. The intro quickly ties the tension together with a thick, hazy guitar melody, followed by a forward thrusting rhythm section that grabs hold and supports the fuzzy blasted solo like a momma bear in hibernation. That’s not all though... The vocals display some extra diversity in the verse, using a lower register than we’ve grown accustomed to in the preceding songs and this somber tone of delivery further enhances the lyrical them of love lost. Don’t get too comfortable yet, because the vibe explodes in the chorus like a blast from a cannon and all the feels are flying’ first class. What a trip of emotions!

Now that we have delved into the inner depths of 21 Grams More, it’s time to lace up your boogie shoes, because the funk is back baby! "Sting Your Tongue" inflicts a fun bopping energy that makes your shoulders shake and your hips do the dippidy. The drums are driving, the organ is navigating the GPS, and the guitars are licking in between vocal lines to make a crispy blues burrito that fills your soul with love and all of the above! But don’t take the feel too lightly, because the lyrics touch on a sensitive topic of sorts… “Don’t that lyin' mouth sting your tongue?” Is the refrain heard in the chorus that seals the package for transit. And we can’t miss the slammin' guitar solo in the middle that bangs out the blues and really cranks it up to 11. BB would B Proud.. 

And finally, the album comes to a close with a spritely swinger that makes you wanna spin it some more... perhaps 21 times more? So git up, and git movin'! Not once, but "Twice Upon A Time!” We end things with a bang here, featuring a crisp, janky guitar, percussion a la synco patico, a thick bouncy moving bass line, and raspy vocals that effectively coat the overtones. But just when you thought that was enough, these guys bring in more again! Towards the end of the song, it breaks down into a nice trippy little solo section before rushing back into the original flow to close the show. And just like that, we are left wanting more. 21 Grams More.

Overall, this release is a beautiful blend of blues, soul, funk, and rock that is a spin fit for all ages. Bump these mixes in the car with the top down on a Sunday afternoon with your date, or blast them out the jukebox on a Friday night at the bar with your buddies. It’s always fit or the cure, but whatever your weight, make sure… It’s 21 Grams More.

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-Mike Oregano 🌿 
Oregano Entertainment Network, Oregano Records


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