Blues Underground Network
The Sugar Prophets "The Sugar Prophets"
The Sugar Prophets could not have come up with a better name for their self titled Debut Release, as one will truly find a sweet blending of a wide variety of genres from this captivating 2011 International Blues Challenge Finalist.
Consisting of Josh Spence (Lead Vocals/Harp), A.J. Williams (Guitar/Vocals), Al Chapman (Bass), Vince “Fuzz” Elam (Drums), and a 10 year veteran of the Kilborn Alley Blues Band, namely, Joe Asselin (Guitar/Vocals/Harp), The Sugar Prophets have quite comfortable thrown themselves into the musical big leagues, with a confidence not to often seen from newer bands.
With their self-titled Debut Album, The Sugar Prophets decided that they were not about to play it safe and came out of the corner swinging with 12 originals, 11 of which were written and arranged by the entire band and one co-written with Roger Huisinga. Starting off with a Debut Album of all originals is of course a little risky, but not only were The Sugar Prophets up for the task, they also managed to pull it off brilliantly, which got them "debuted at #16 on the Roots Music Reports Blues Radio Charts", a very worthy placing for any new band.
Starting with a solid foundation of the Blues, The Sugar Prophets music also envelopes, blends, and embraces other genres, such as, Rhythm & Blues, Rock, Funk, Country, Gospel, Soul, and a little tinge of Cajun which I got from their second track, "Hurry, Hurry". It all comes across with a new sound that may be familiar to some, but in the end, unique to all.
As a band, The Sugar Prophets are not about individual acts of show boating, their about working together as a tight cohesive team. That teamwork comes across on this Album, in spades, an Album which is not peppered with dramatic highs or so so lows, but one that has taken an even keel approach to their sound and in doing so, must be considered to be more of a whole than a series of individual parts.
One thing I am finding a lot more in recordings nowadays is more of a respect for the listener. Some bands use different techniques to make the listening of their music more real and enjoyable, The Sugar Prophets decided to give some of that realism to their Album by recording it totally in Analog Style, something that may just make a small difference but none the less a thoughtful gesture to their fans, old and new.
All in all, I found The Sugar Prophets Debut release to be a very enjoyable listen, one that will become a staple for me for the foreseeable future.
It is also nice to know that as we all continue down our musical listening journey, that every know and then a captivating new band will come across the horizon and in doing so, increase our confidence that the future of not only the Blues, but other genres as well, are in good hands. The Sugar Prophets are such as band.
Highly Recommended and Thoroughly Enjoyed... A very good start for a very good band...
Review by John Vermilyea (Blues Underground Network)
1. Face Up
2. Hurry, Hurry
3. Livin' In Sin
4. Bad Ass
5. Big Love
6. Lots of Trouble
7. Brighter Day
8. Bigger Than Life Size
9. Hey Bernice
11. Heart's Desire (Part 1)
12. Heart's Desire (Part 2)