| Feb 15, 2007


Feature Article - February 15, 2007

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Feature Article - February 15, 2007

Joey gets it Wrightby Jeff Green

Elphin-based musician Joey Wright brought together four of the five musicians who performed on his latest CD Jalopy, for a release concert at the intimate MERA Hall in McDonalds Corners last Friday night.

The 12 tunes on Jalopy provided plenty of opportunity for each of the four players to stretch out, and Joe Philips on double bass, Dan Whiteley on mandolin, Jesse Zubot on fiddle and mandolin, and Joey Wright on guitars and mandolin did just that. They used their considerable collective talents to express the range of colours from the relentlessly inventive songs that make up Jalopy.

“I put a lot of thought into how the songs were ordered on the CD,” Joey said at one point, “so I figure we should play them in that order.”

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It’s not that easy to characterise Jalopy. It arises out of the bluegrass, a.k.a. hillbilly jazz, tradition, but there are hints of melody from many sources in the music. At points Zubot’s fiddle suggested Stephan Grapelli, specifically on Farm Show Ghost and the Duke Ellington tune Come Sunday, the only song on the CD not written by Joey Wright. At other times Joe Phillips’ bass work had a classical feel, while Dan Whiteley’s mandolin was always driving the music forward. Meanwhile, whether playing acoustic or electric guitar or mandolin, Joey Wright provided the music with a kind of backbone

While the Jalopy recording has a relaxed feel to it, in live performance the sound was more dynamic. Yet, although the players were playing, and listening to each other intently, the concert had a laid back feel.

Joey Wright has been playing in bands for many years, always in the background, and he is not about to turn into a flamboyant front man.

This was underscored when, near the end of the concert, Dan Whiteley said, “Hey, how about a hand for Joey Wright for writing all these songs for you folks to hear.”

Jalopy is a CD that deserves repeated listening. Anyone who thinks all bluegrass music sounds the same or that all jazz music is hopelessly intellectual will be cured of their misconceptions by Jalopy.

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