What the Chicago Sun-Times says about this brand new CD:
THE MATTHEW SKOLLER BAND, "THESE KIND OF BLUES!" (TONGUE 'N' GROOVE) *** 1/2
Chicago vocalist-harpist Matthew Skoller has made a lot of smart choices with "These Kind of Blues!" First, the veteran of the Chi-Town Hustlers and the Kinsey Report had the good sense to record with second-generation stalwarts Lurrie Bell and Kenny Smith on guitar and drums, respectively. He recognized the power of his socially conscious "Handful of People" by including both traditional blues and hip-hop versions on his album. His smartly paced disc mixes classic Chicago blues sounds, uptempo numbers and shuffles. And he even recruited the great poet-author Sterling Plumpp to do the liner notes.
But we'd expect nothing less from an artist with such prodigious songwriting talents. "These Kind of Blues" vaults Skoller to the upper echelon of the young lions of Chicago blues.
Jeff Johnson (Chicago Sun-Times Feb. 6th 2005)
One of the hardest working harmonica-based blues groups in Chicago,The Matthew Skoller Band rocks with a fierceness not felt since the likes of blues harp icons Little Walter and Sonny Boy Williamson II. Skoller and his band of veteran musicians are at the forefront of a new generation who've come up schooled in Chicago's world-renowned and highly competitive blues scene.
Skoller's take on the blues tradition is about letting his own voice come through -- his culture, his experience.
Skoller moved to Chicago in January 1987. His already mature
harmonica playing led a number of musicians to take him under their collective wings. He paid his dues backing up a "who's who" of creative and passionate musicians, including the legendary Jimmy Rogers, BigTime Sarah, and Deitra Farr. Skoller's emotional, high-energy style caught the ear of veteran bassist/vocalist J.W. Williams who invited Skoller to join his band, the Chi-Town Hustlers. The next year, Skoller became a member of Big Daddy Kinsey and The Kinsey Report, touring with the band throughout the U.S., Canada and Europe. Despite his success working with others, Skoller heard a gnawing inner voice and since 1992 has led his own band. Like a tornado, he's blown through the Chicago blues scene. During the 1996 Democratic
convention, Tom Brokaw's NBC Nightly News In-Depth Report featured the Matthew Skoller Band performing live at B.L.U.E.S.
That same year, Hohner Harmonicas installed Skoller as an endorsee. Skoller's harmonica sound continues to be much in demand. In February 2000, Alligator Records employed him to play harmonica on Koko Taylor's CD, Royal Blue. Skoller's harmonica is featured on 11 songs on the Telarc CD, Knocking At Your Door, from guitarist John Primer. He's also played on albums by Bernard Allison, Larry Garner, Big Daddy Kinsey, Big Time Sarah, Michael Coleman , Harvey Mandel, among others. And has had his original songs recorded by legendary blues artists such as Carey Bell and H-Bomb Ferguson. Matthew has also recorded a number of television jingles.
Recent Festival gigs include:
Ã˜ Lucerne Blues Festival 2004
Ã˜ Utrecht Blues Festival 2003
Ã˜ San Francisco Blues Festival 2003
Ã˜ Blues Passions Festival, Cognac, France 2001/2002
Ã˜ Blue Balls Festival, Lucernne Switzerland 2001
Ã˜ Chicago Blues Festival, 1999/2001/2003
Ã˜ Bagneux Blues Night, Paris, France 2000
Skoller just finished an 8 year every Sunday house gig at the Chicago House Of Blues, has opened for Buddy Guy every year since 1995 at Buddy's club Legends and has recently been employed for two Chicago appearances with legendary roots band Los Lobos.
This Kind of Blues! - The Matthew Skoller Band (Tongue 'N Groove) 2005
Tap Root - Matthew Skoller's Lost Trio (Tongue 'N Groove) 2003
Shoulder To the Wind - The Matthew Skoller Band (Tongue 'N Groove)1999
Bone to Pick with You - The Matthew Skoller Band (Tongue 'N Groove)1996
Royal Blue - Koko Taylor (Alligator) 2000
A Million of You - Big Time Sarah (Delmark) 2003
Do Your Thing! - Michael Coleman (Delmark) 2000
Keep on Lovin' the Blues - John Primer (Code Blue)1997
Casque Nu - Charlelie Couture (Chrysalis)1997
Keepin' the Blues Alive - Bernard Allison (Cannonball)1997
Wiggin' Out - H-Bomb Ferguson (Earwig)1993
You Need to Live a Little - Larry Garner (Polygram)1993
Twist City - Harvey Mandel (Western Front)1993
Can't Let Go - Big Daddy Kinsey (Blind Pig)1989
More reviews and testimonials:
THESE KIND OF BLUES" is a powerful album that needs to be heard. It is full of top-notch, yet understated playing by great, experienced, young Chicago bluesmen. They dazzle with feel, precision and succinctness, not flash. But what sets this album apart is Skoller's songwriting. Not since the old days have I heard such passionate, straight-from-the-heart expression in blues
lyrics. There are personal stories, political observations, and party pieces. The songs project a seasoned maturity, a wisdom; they move way beyond the adolescent sexuality and tired heartbreak of too many modern blues songs.
You definitely need these kind of blues.
-Niles Frantz * Host, Comin' Home
WBEZ, 91.5 FM, Chicago Public Radio
I host a Sunday Morning blues show on KSPQ-FM in West
Plains, Missouri. Just wanted to let you know I love
the new cd and it is #4 on my Playlist For February!
Good luck with this cd.
"The more I listen to the Matthew Skoller Band, the better it gets. An uncommonly perceptive songwriter, and I've always loved Lurrie Bell on the guitar. Thanks for the quality music.
Music Director, Jefferson Public Radio KSMF
1250 Siskiyou Blvd.
Ashland, OR 97520
"Matthew Skoller is one of the top Harmonica players in the blues today. He's a good singer who's voice comes straight from the heart. On These Kind of Blues he's assembled a cast of some of the best and most creative players in Chicago today and has produced a beautiful sounding CD. What really makes it rise to the top, though, is the songwriting. Matthew Skoller has found his voice writing about contemporary issues with real feeling in a classic blues structure."
"Tom Marker, BluesBreakersWXRT" Chicago, IL
THE MATTHEW SKOLLER BAND -THESE KIND OF BLUES Tongue 'N Groove
Yes heavy air play on this one also, Matthew sounding good on the harp and Lurrie Bell is a great axe man!
Leroy Alvarez WNMC Traverse City MI
"Matthew is a favorite in this area due to his legendary performances in Milwaukee before his move to Chicago. It's been a pleasure watching him grow over the years. His performance at this year's Lucerne Switzerland included a commentary on the war in Iraq; he got the biggest audience response of the night! I had an advance copy of this and havefeatured it on THE BLUE SIDE. Expect heaviest rotation and continued feature long into the future."
-"The Blue Side" with Mary Flynn Wisconsin Public Radio
A LIST RECOMMENDED EVENT
Matthew Skoller Band CD-Release Show
Chicago's hardworking Matthew Skoller isn't a household name even in blues circles. But he's a fire-breathing harmonica ace clearly influenced by the likes of Sonny Boy Williamson, a solid vocalist with a touch of gritty lyricism, and a good songwriter with a knack for revitalizing blues clichÃ©s with astutely contemporary twists. A former Kinsey Report member and vet of innumerable Chi-town sessions, Skoller also has assembled a formidable band featuring incendiary guitarist Lurrie Bell and former Mellow Fellows keyboards whiz Sid Wingfield. While perfectly capable of churning into high gear, the band is particularly adept at slow-burning blues. And there are a couple of nuggets on its spanking new CD, These Kind of Blues! (Tongue 'N Groove): James Cotton's vicious "Down at Your Buryin' Ground" and the Skoller original "Handful of People," which builds to a blizzard of searing harmonica work and blistering testifying. $5. 9:00 p.m. --Rick MasonFRI FEB 4 City Pages A-List Picks Minn. MN
Check out the artist's website:
1. Get Paid
2. Ghosts In Your Closet
3. Handful Of People
4. These Kind Of Blues
5. Let The World Come To You
6. Wired World
7. Stolen Thunder
8. Down at Your Buryin'
10. Where Can You Be
11. Bonus : Hip Hop Remix- Handful of People