Recorded and mixed in a big barn in the woods of Webatuck, NY by longtime compadre Mel Paskell, The Providers' only CD release "Open For Business" is a fine reflection of the band's willingness and ability to experiment with a wide sonic palate, and both reinforces and reshapes the traditional notions of what blues-based rock 'n' roll is all about.
After two cassette-only releases with outside producers yielded mixed results, The Providers went into the studio in March 1998 focused on self-definition through songcraft. Working collectively, vocalist Guy Tino, guitarists Keith Bartow and Terry O'Grady, and a newly-hired rhythm section (bassist Craig Tiedemann and drummer Tom Kapteina) sorted through a vast catalog of original material and selected ten of the strongest tracks to record during the sessions, nine written by Keith and Guy and one written by Terry and Guy. The Bartow/Tino-penned acoustic closer "All The Good Ones" was added at the last minute upon the insistence of Keith's wife!
The songs picked for the project vary widely in scope and feel, from the straight-ahead blues of "Relent" and "Down So Long" to the country-flavored rock of "Same Old Keepin' On" and "You Walk Alone" to the extended jams of live favorites "Stranger Than When We Met" and "These Troubles." The versatility evident in the writing carried over into the procduction as well - in addition to the vocal harmonies and blistering guitar work that were already the hallmarks of the band's live shows and previous studio work, the project features Keith playing flute, mandolin and banjo on various tracks, while Guy added percussion to almost every song and finally got his harmonica work on tape. Keyboards appeared for the first time on a Providers album as well, played by Mel on "Insecurity" and by his friend Alex Salzman on "Relent," "You Walk Alone" and "These Troubles."
"Open For Business" was released at the tail end of 1999 and received extensive college radio play in Connecticut. Tracks were also featured several times on the WPLR 99.1FM show "Local Bands," and WCCC 106.1FM DJ Beef Stew invited Keith, Terry and Guy up for a live performance and interview segment on his "Sunday Night Blues" program.
"The tunes are catchy, the guitar work is engrossing, the lyrics are way above average and the vocals are strong and stylish...["Relent" is] the kind of song that makes you want to break up with your lover just so you can have make-up sex." - Stefanie Ramp, The Fairfield County Weekly (3/9/00)
(The Providers made one more studio album that was never officially released. Please send an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org if you would like to hear it.)
Check out the artist's website:
1. Handshake The World
2. Same Old Keepin' On
4. Down So Long
7. Great Divide
8. Stranger Than When We Met
9. You Walk Alone
10. These Troubles
11. All The Good Ones