CD REVIEW: Morgan's Road - Topic of Love
by: Cyrus Rhodes
Artist: Morgan’s Road
CD: Topic of Love
Label: Spectra Records
Genre: Jam Band, Funky Pop, R&B
Sounds Like: Dave Mathews Band, Toto, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Santana, John Maher, Jack Johnson, Matchbox 20, Counting Crows, The Avett Brothers
Technical Grade: 10/10
Weakness: A few winded songs, over the top solo guitar, over the top vocal performances
(CHARLESTON, SC) With their tight mix of Alternative Rock, Funk, Fusion, and Pop, these genre-defying musicians are rapidly making a name for themselves in the Southeast, and are poised for international exposure. In 2013, they caught the attention of the Spectra Music Group, who quickly signed them to a recording deal. Their debut album will be internationally released on the Spectra Records label on January 13, 2015. The first single “Turn Its Back On You” was released on October 7, 2014. Look for their single and the album “Topics Of Love” on iTunes, Amazon, Rhapsody, Virgin Mobile, Spotify, Google Music, and many more outlets. Band members include: Ben Woodruff - Vocals/Acoustic Guitar, Tyler Perry - Drums/Vocals, Cameron Allen - Guitar/Vocals, Matt Chmielecki - Bass, Justin Banks - Keyboard/Percussion. This full loaded installment 15 Track installment is entitled “Topics of Love” released in 2014.
The CD kicks things off with the melodic ditty “Stay” a passionate acoustic guitar driven intro groove with methodical musical build, hooky chorus and emotionally charged vocal delivery from Woodruff. Track 2 “Turn it’s Back On You” serves up another hooky groove, with melodic musical flow coupled with rock steady rhythm section painted against a flowing bluesy guitar ambience and licks. Track 3 “Love Song” shifts gears with its Funky melody with thought provoking lyrical and impassioned vocal persona that flows and ebbs its way through to emotional fruition. As the CD unfolds I can hear many musical influences reminiscent of Dave Mathews Band, Toto, Santana, John Maher, Jack Johnson, Matchbox 20, Counting Crows, The Avett Brothers. Right from the start you will notice Woodruff feels quite comfortable just letting it all hang out musically, not holding anything back. The overall musical vibe has a nice Jam Band feel to it. Music is at times grooving, funky, melodic, poppy and hooky with pockets of hope shining through. The musicianship is world class across the board as Woodruff and company dish out impressive licks. This is a tight band! Imagine Anthony Kiedis signing for The Dave Mathews Band with Joe Satriani playing solo guitar. Also present red hot solo guitar (that will make your head spin), Organ, sporadic percussive accents, impressive vocal harmonies, all built upon n smooth as silk rhythm section. Woodruff’s got solid vocal timber and is full of passion and recklessness abandon. He’s got good vocal instincts within each movement he displays an impressive falsetto and inviting power, control, soulful swagger and timber throughout. His vocal style reminds me of a cross between Adam Duritz (Counting Crows) Anthony Kiedis (Red Hot Chili Peppers) and Dave Mathews. Woodruff is a gifted singer with enough soul to go around for sure. The songwriting is brilliant and provides a lot of musical variety and emotion. His vocal emotions really seal the deal for me as he makes a strong emotional connection with the listener. The musicianship from all the other members in the band has everything you would expect from a gold standard Funk-Soul Rock-Pop band. All engineering aspects check out. CD possess thick low end frequency and crystal clear high end clarity. The songs themselves are consistent musical experiences, each one possessing unique personality, flair and signature groove. From slamming “Bad Man” to folksy “Good, Good, Gone” to melodic “Here I Come” to striking ”Get Up, Get Out” to soulful “Child” top invigorating “Southern Bound” to grooving “Southern Bound” to funky “Give It To You” to intoxicating “Turn Me On” this 15 track CD has something for just about everyone. The CD ends with Track 15 “Savanah” the perfect finale statement for a CD of this caliber.
All songs over 4 minutes tend to drag you to the finish line. Although impressive - some of the solo guitar performances are a bit over the top reminiscent of ultra-flashy 80’s style solo guitar. Although impressive - some of the vocal performances are a bit over the top. It almost feels as if Woodruff is keeping himself under wraps in a band like this. It sounds as if he would be better suited for a high energy Punk-Funk-Rock band like like Mike Patton (Faith No More) or Red Hot Chili Peppers..
In close “Topics of Love” by Morgan’s Road delivers an impressive, passionate, impassioned, hooky 15 song release that upholds gifted songwriting with the highest standards in good Americana Pop. If he has an impressive live presentation then that would be a deadly combination no doubt. The songs are extremely melodic, passionate and highly entertaining – and clearly prove this band is on to something special going down this path. The Band was recently signed to Spectra Records. At the end of the day Morgan’s Road is a world-class Band possessing an infectious funky-Pop-Rock personality clearly worthy of worldwide recognition. One would be wise to keep a watchful on him over the years to come.
Cyrus Rhodes Rhodes