Yankee Slickers Album Release Party at Mojos

by Rick Grant
The brothers Paul and Jason Ivey have struggled for years to find the right players and sound for which they were searching. In 2005, after the usual band member changes, the two lead guitarists launched their cross-over 70s sound- a distinctly southern rock based concept, with two lead guitars feeding off each other, both in unison and dueling leads. The Ivey brothers blueprint was dynamic rhythm with solid grooves built around well written songs, reminiscent of the great 70’s rock’n’roll.
After a year of session work, the brothers finally released their self titled debut album and booked an extensive tour of Florida and Georgia which kicked off at Mojos Kitchen last Friday night. I’d heard positive rumblings about this band and I decided to check out its show at Mojos. The place was packed when I arrived at 10:00 pm which was a good sign.
The band is tight and professional, with the brothers sporting long hair and bell bottoms a la 70s. Their sound is a melding of old southern rock with a modern song writing style. Remarkably, they sound old and new simultaneously.
Essentially, the Iveys write interesting songs with meaningful lyrics, delivered with powerful vocals and back up harmonies-another tribute to the 70s. This band is a positive contrast to the so called jam bands which are touring around that lack well written songs and play only grooves over which they improvise ad nauseam. In rock, or any other genre, songwriting excellence is the key to success. An exemplary song can be played in any style and still sound great. The Iveys have wisely adopted this credo.
On the YS’s album cut “For the Moment” opens with an electric guitar opening then ambles into sweet sounding duel guitars reminiscent of the Allman Brothers. Then the guitar sound changes into a bolder distortion sound. The vocals are crystal clear mixed a little out front in the spectrum. The song has a rambling rhythm and country-esque sound–a sort of more modern version of 70’s traditions. The guitar solos are restrained to stay context to the feel of the song.
“Times a’ Changing” finds the Iveys into a funky rhythm that set ones’ toes-a’-tapping and has an uplifting soulful connection. Again, it rocks but with crisp rhythm and excellent vocals. It’s clean, hip, and gets crowds on their feet and dancing to the beat.
“On the Lurk” opens as a rocker with a heavy guitar groove out front. The song has a killer break then brings back that catchy rhythm. An ascending chord rhythm sets the stage for the duel leads to showcase the Ivey’s guitar prowess. Again, this song exemplifies the Ivey’s rocking soul and love of catchy rhythms built into balanced lyrical phrasing.
With the Ivey brothers on duel leads, Corey Martin on bass, and John Farmer on drums, Yankee Slickers should catch on as a hot modern rock band that pays homage to the 70s but melds its new ideas into a rocking mix that everyone will dig. To reiterate, exemplary songwriting is the key and the Yankee Slickers have that covered.