It’s been brewing for a few months now. Initially I heard only whisperings. Then I met Ian Sherwood, “Up on the Ridge”, at the Hupman’s Place. He was there to lay down some saxophone tracks. I heard, for the first time, a few tracks of their upcoming new CD: “Countin’ Quarters”. There are Hammond and fiddle sounds, double bass and some (un)real electricity. Now the disc is all that’s a-playin’ at our house.
A couple of years ago, when their first CD came out, I said to myself: “It just ain’t gonna get much better than that!”. Of course I was wrong. Since then I learned that Scott plays electric and upright bass, that he is a recording engineer and sound guy. Ryan is a visual artist and lyricist, and together with drummer Mike Carroll the brothers keep a groove that can be felt all the way to Chicago and Detroit. I am still amazed at how accurately this new CD represents the Hupman Brothers: The sounds are straight forward. The mood of the songs reached my heart before my mind caught on, and the space that the band creates allows them to be joined by musical fellows, listeners and dancers before the first verse is done.
Man! I stuck the thing into my computer and the thing went from zero to sixty in just a few seconds. The first song is called “Repeat” and features the classic trio sound with drums, bass and strat. Halfway through, Ian Sherwood kicks in with a few horns. I took the hint and switched my player program to “Repeat”. Gimme some more!
The Album mixes a laid back sense of home with melancholy. It oozes heart and hope. These are the guys everybody wants to play with. They make fast, driving R’n’B sound like a piece of cake and they draw fellow virtuosos like moths to the flame. On this record you’ll hear Caleb Miles playing his electric guitar, you’ll hear Bob Federer playing keyboard like nobody else in the Valley and Ian’s Saxophones are on six of the twelve tracks.
“Countin’ Quarters”, the CD, and “Countin’ Quarters”, the title track, both, conjure up an image of taking stock, choices made and dues paid, hands extended to friends, joy and sorrow shared. I tip my hat to Scott and Ryan, to the trials and tribulations of brotherhood. They keep setting the example, the standard and the bar of musicianship, of inclusion and of support.
I will make sure to be in attendance when the Hupman Brothers celebrate the completion of their latest recording with a concert at the Al Whittle Theatre in Wolfville, on Saturday, the 30th of May, Apple Blossom weekend. The preparations for this show are running at full steam. Most of the participating musicians met last Monday at Brian Frizzle’s Dungaree Lair for a rehearsal. I was lucky enough to listen in, and I heard a world class blues band, having fun, groovin’ out, tradin’ licks. There’s a buzz out there. It’s coming. My number one CD of the Year.