The Hupman Brothers wear a lot of musical hats: energetic late-night blues band, acoustic folk duet, soulful balladeers. In their new album, set to be released at a big concert this Saturday, they have their electric dynamo chapeaus firmly in place, tearing through a wide range of genres and styles with tracks that would make the likes of Stevie Ray Vaughan, Marvin Gaye, and Herbie Hancock all proud. There are songs to dance to, songs to make love to, and songs to gun it down to Memphis to.
As their first fully-electric album, Loveseat Volume 1 (Volume 2 is to be all acoustic) features frontman Ryan’s typical channelling of Duane Allman, and brother Scott’s masterful bass work, complemented by their everimpressive band: Mike Carroll on drums, Caleb Miles on guitar, Bob Federer on keys, and Ian Sherwood on sax. The album meanders its merry way through the blues, with touches of classic R&B, funk, soul, and straight-up rock.
The two instrumental tracks, “Bobbleberry Jam” and “Big Naturals”, are actually some of the best on the album, in this humble listener’s opinion. The solid, intricate grooves really show off what these guys can do and reveal their complete integration as a band. Many of the other songs get at that definitive B.B. King sound the Hupmans do so well, complete with call-andanswer tidbits and Sherwood bopping around on bari sax. The title track really showcases the band’s musical chops, especially Mike Carroll’s sweet beats. It truly captures what everyone likes best about the boys: their high-energy, playful lyrics, and fine song-crafting. The band also slows it down some on a couple songs—“Money Tree” in particular is a gem, sounding like a vintage Ray Charles ballad.
Vintage is perhaps the operative word for the whole album: each song sounds like a time capsule treasure, but not in a dusty, dated way. The Hupmans have a knack for taking those tried-and-true styles and making them fresh and timely. They show their respect and knowledge of the old masters, while still letting their own character and originality radiate through, as well as their deep understanding of that visceral blood-red heart of the blues.
The Hupman Brothers Band will perform their CD Release concert this Saturday, November 27th in the Al Whittle Theatre at 8pm. Act fast and you can still get your ticket ($15) at Box of Delights in Wolfville.
– Laura MacDonald