Step Right Up is ambitious (16 tracks and over 65 minutes of music), explorative and truly representative of the Moossa sound. Earthy roots numbers are entwined with bits of scorching rock, funk, reggae and heart wrenching ballads that could have come down from the hills. The lilting reggae of â€œA little Bit Higherâ€ has hints of psychedelic suggestion drizzled throughout. â€œTollboothâ€ is a funk-driven pop song with the anthemic new millennium chorus â€œsitting in a tollbooth watching the world go by/ up down the gates and the lids of my eyes/ one day I know youâ€™re going to realize that you were looking for somethingâ€. â€œ11 and 5/8â€ is a fine example of a sort of Americana hip/hop, relevant and grooving and inspired by Bob Dylanâ€™s â€œOne Hunded and fifteenth Dreamâ€ to be comic with its satire of the down and out. â€œDreamâ€, guitarist Jim Fabâ€™s gem, is ghostly and well executed, for the first time we hear Jim and bassist Ryan Davisâ€™s vocals featured up front combined in masterful doubled production on the verse before the powerful chorus kicks in and buoyed throughout by Fabâ€™s adept slide playing. Itâ€™s the perfect prelude to the CDâ€™s other Beatlesque ballad; â€œShut Downâ€. Davis contributes an alt rock hit with â€œItâ€™s Trueâ€ which is one of the bandâ€™s most requested live tunes; â€œI could move to Amsterdam or I could fly to Panama/ Sundown on the coast of Spain what am I still looking for.â€ The first half of the CD ends with â€œStephanie Seemed Like A Good Ideaâ€ a 6/8 song of near despair by singer John Moossa which stirs up suggestions of Pearl Jamâ€™s â€œElderly Woman Behind the Counter in a Small Townâ€ and pays tribute to the bandâ€™s alt folk side.
The second half opens with a cover of Bob Marleyâ€™s â€œRebel Musicâ€ (3 oâ€™clock Roadblock) enhanced by vocalists Nancy Waldman and Allison Mills and crisply executed with the assistance of engineer Lance Koehler. â€œRock Down Steadyâ€ evokes images of Moossa in preacherâ€™s robes inviting the congregation to â€œreach inside and feel the powerâ€ while a steady thumping bass and the harmonica playing of Clark Lovelady lend credulity to this gospel blues. From saint to sinner, â€œGypsy Queenâ€ is a tongue in cheek country rock number perhaps bringing a humorist break to the CD at just the right time. â€œLay Me Downâ€ is a return to the smart funk introduced earlier in the mix. The CD resolves itself in a group of 4 songs that well portray the bandâ€™s dark emotional side so often a key impetus to excellent writing. Davisâ€™ â€œIt Isnâ€™t Meâ€ features a bleak soundscape complete with prepared piano, the perfect foil for Moossaâ€™s gravelly vocals that seem made for this song. Leading us to â€œHard Timesâ€ which out of the blue and maybe therefore somewhat suspectly sounds more like a â€˜70â€™s punk tune then something that you would imagine this band to cough up but it all makes sense as it resolves itself into the sparse 4 line and one minute plus in length â€œRambling Oklahoma Bluesâ€
The CD was recorded in its entirety over a 5 month period at Lance Koehlerâ€™s Minimum Wage Studio in Richmondâ€™s Oregon Hill. Local flavor is adroitly added to the mix as Koehler placed a mic outside the studio to capture street ambience as the only accompaniment to Moossaâ€™s voice and guitar on â€œMistake of Chanceâ€ the album ends with the sound of an anonymous local wondering if heâ€™s going to make it to the corner.
Step Right Up is currently available online here at CDBaby as well as at www.moossa.com and at all Moossa shows. Downloads will soon be available thru I-Tunes and many other web sources. Stay tuned for more from this band!
Check out the artist's website:
1. Slack Like Me
2. Little Bit Higher
4. 11 & 5/8
6. Shut Down
7. It's True
8. Stephanie Seemed Like A Good Idea
9. Rebel Music ( 3 o'clock roadblock)
10. Rock Down Steady
11. Gypsy Queen
12. Lay Me Down
13. It Isn't Me
14. Hard Times
15. Rambling Oklahoma Blues
16. Mistake Of Chance