SINGLE REVIEW: Project grand Slam - "He Aint Heavy, He's My Brother" (2011)
by Cyrus Rhodes
- INDIE MUSIC DIGEST:-
HE AIN'T HEAVY, HE'S MY BROTHER (4:03)
Project Grand Slam
Genre: Jazz, R&B, Jam Band, Pop
Sounds Like: Dave Matthews Band, Mariah Carey, Alicia Keys
Project Grand Slam - 4 piece band Electric Jazz group based out of New York City releases their latest singe entitled "He Aint Heave, He's My Brother" in 2011 with special guest vocalist Joye Hennessey. This single is from their recently released CD of the same name (Cakewalk Records). This classic remake of Hollies hit, which premiered back in 1969 remains a gem cherished by many fans to this day. In the wake of the Penn State Child Abuse scandal it's nice to know that a portion of the proceeds from this release will be going to the victims. Band members include Robert Miller (Electric Bass), Ron Thaler (Drums and Percussion) and Gilad Ronen (Soprano and tenor Saxophones. Guest musicians include Emike Eckroth (Piano/Keyboards), Danny LErman (Alto Saxophone), Justin Smith (Strings) and Joye Hennessey (vocals).
Logging in at (4:03) “He Aint' Heavy He's My Brother" kicks off with an earthy jazz horn intro quickly into leading you head first into the full tilt rhythm section fronted by guest vocalist Joye Hennessey. Enter the passionate vocal delivery from Hennessey and we begin to get a clearer understanding what this band and this amazing vocalist are capable of. The music itself goes down smooth with solid low end groove painted against well placed Jazz elements which include Alto-Saxophone, Piano, Keyboards and even Strings. Vocally the piece will remind you of classic Alicia Keys, Mary J. Blige and Mariah Carey. The music has everything you would expect from an experienced Jazz trio - but it's rocking enough to sound in the vein of say the Dave Mathews Band with elements of Jam Band, Jazz, Rock and even R&B and Pop. The passionate chorus kicks things into high gear with Hennessey and company letting it all hang out musically. The song has an amazing peak and valley effect to it and slows down just enough before kicking things back into high gear for the vocal finale. The final chorus is so powerful it literally made my hair stand up on the back on my neck. I don't normally say stuff like this unless it's actually true. Hennessey takes many impressive vocal risks throughout the CD indicating to me a strong and confident vocal ability. She clearly makes the (singer to listener) vocal connection with her singing, but none of this would be possible without the lush layered musical presentation of PGS. All in all it's a pretty action packed 4 minutes of music. Venturing to the PGS My Space page (linked above) you can hear even more amazing songs from this quartet including "Because She Said So", The Captain of Her Heart", and Studio One".
Releasing a cover song as a single is a great way to provide new interpretation and breathe now life into past inspiration. However releasing original music will always be the most complete picture of who you are as an artist: This will showcase both playing and writing skill sets PGS could have went with an original piece with Hennessy at the front very much the same way Carlos Santana did with Rob Thomas on the 1999 smash hit Smooth.
There's nothing more deadlier than a soulful singer, a hot band and a powerful message. "He Aint' Heavy He's My Brother" has all of the above and is an impressive snapshot of music from Project Grand Slam. They made a good call brining in a singer like Hennessey and going with a classic piece of music like this. Because of this the single presents a more marketable dimension for additional fans. PGS delivers the goods, and at the end of the day this song is a hit waiting to happen. It definitely adds fuel to the fire for a hot up and coming New York based Electric Jazz Band. Need I say more?
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