Vizztone Label Group
Salt Lake City’s Tony Holiday used to play guitar and front his band the Velvetones. When he switched to harmonica he recruited the young prodigy Landon Stone as the band’s guitarist. The band was named 2016’s “Best Blues Band” by the Salt Lake City Music Awards. After relocating to Memphis the band became known as The Tony Holiday Band. The band has shared the stage with luminaries both in Memphis, and as they traveled from coast to coast. Their debut recording last year’s “Porch Sessions” captured them with Charlie Musselwhite, Rockin’ Johnny Burgin, Kid Ramos, John Primer, John Nemeth, Kid Andersen, James Harman, Mitch Kashmar and Aki Kumar.
The current band includes Holiday, harmonica and vocals; Landon Stone, guitar; Max Kaplan on bass; and Danny Banks from the John Nemeth Band, The Blue Dreamers, on drums. Special guests include Grammy nominee Victor Wainwright, keyboards; and Ori Naftaly from Southern Avenue, guitar. The album is produced by Naftaly, and engineered and mixed by Kevin Houston at the Dickinson family Zebra Ranch recording studio in Independence, Mississippi.
Holiday, and his songwriting partner Naftaly, have composed eight new songs. Holiday opens with the soulful “Paying Rent On A Broken Home” featuring his harp and vocal. “She Knocks Me Out” is a rockabilly styled tune featuring Wainwright on piano as Holiday takes a fabulous harp solo, followed by a guitar solo from Stone.
My favorite is another soulful tune, “It’s Gonna Take Some Time”, featuring the lyric “now that you’re gone I don’t know where I’m going”. “Good Advice” stretches beyond the blues “my grandma told me some good advice, you fight the fight and you fan the flame…you can’t tell the book by looking at the cover”.
“Checkers On the Chessboard” is a jazzy styled piece played on a chromatic with a hip narrative; Wainwright plays piano while Kaplan’s bass punctuates the lyrics. On “Getting Off The Hustle” Holiday sings “I’ve been a long time gone…I noticed the changes in my very own home”; Stone’s rhythm guitar and Holiday’s chromatic complete the production.
Kaplan’s bass and some vocal harmony open the soulful “Day Dates (Turn Into Night Dates)” about workin’ too much O.T. and the consequences “someone gonna’ get hurt”; with some evocative harp and Bank’s on the drums. The closer “Ol Number 9” is another cool groove.
On “Soul Service” we get to hear another side of the versatile Holiday as his songwriting and vocals have never sounded better.