Mark Austin Band
Mark Austin Band somehow avoids being pigeonholed as a “jam-band,” although they have all the traits of the HORDE guys: lengthy solos, dubious lyrics (witness the album title) and, most likely, a love for mushrooms. However, they’re so utterly jazzy; they got all these brass things going and they end up resembling a fusion-endorsed Grateful Dead with Santana sitting in for Garcia, and with Tower of Power jamming away on one side of the stage. This is on the good songs. On the bad ones, they merely resemble Blood Sweat and Tears.
Most of this is surprisingly good stuff, though. They’re super proficient musicians, and while they definitely don’t know when to hold back (there’s a drum solo on here, dammit), their playing is often irresistibly clever, pulling the songs forward and upwards, and constantly raising the energy level until it all climaxes and explodes. The songwriting doesn’t always take front seat and the album suffers from it. But when it all comes together, on tracks like “Low Clouds Roll,” “Wheels” and “Journey Without Distance,” the result is overpowering and energetic.
Mark Austin Band: http://www.markaustinband.com/