Roots Time Review

Tony Spinner was born half a century ago in Cape Girardeau, Missouri. On June 9, the guitarist celebrated his fiftieth birthday. His first introduction to music came on the radio, listening to Elvis Presley, Little Richard and Chuck Berry. EM4AThe latter is still one of Tony's biggest idols. As he grew older he became more interested in the heavier music like Jimi Hendrix, Duane Allman, Rory Gallagher, Johnny Winter and Robin Trower. They still have a significant impact on the music that Tony Spinner makes now. Most people know Tony from his work as a singer / guitarist with Pat Travers, but even more as a member of the super band TOTO from 1999 to 2009. But Tony was also working on a solo career during that period and, in 1993, he released his first solo album, "Saturn Blues." Now, in 2013, he is on his ninth album, "Earth Music For Aliens."

All of the thirteen songs on this new album were written by Tony Spinner and it may sound strange, but the album of this American is included in the Trinix Studio in Arnhem, Netherlands. Tony recorded this album with the two musicians who joined him on stage during his European shows. The Dutch bass player Michel Mulder and his Uzbek drummer Alex Steier currently lives in the Netherlands. According to Tony, Alex and Michel are great musicians and they have the same passion as he to make good music. Tony Spinner himself says this about his new album: "The new CD, 'Earth Music For Aliens' is for those of you that feel like you are one of the few who care for real music played by real musicians, an outcasts or aliens. This band does not dance or lip sync. In this band the music comes first above all the nonsense involved in the music business. We do it because we love it. I am very proud of this CD and I know you will like it, too" And I can not articulate it better. It has become an honest, straightforward album with splashing guitar.

Tony Spinner flies at once full of conviction, lots of energy. High and impressive rhythm guitar are the main components of "Best Friend." Also in "Dust And Ash" is the same passion. Hear how tightly Alex sets the pace and listen to Michel, his bass strings almost tortured by the huge groove and rhythm that is in the numbers. Tony and his guitar are as one. It's not for nothing that he was so sought after by TOTO. Spinner is a superb guitarist who is not just doing some finger exercises on the neck of his guitar. No, every note, every tone is carefully chosen. The quick finger play on the guitar also comes in "Let Her Go." This song sounds more funky and slower than its two predecessors. Endless numbers with boundless knitting on the guitar you do not hear on a Tony Spinner album. All the songs are between three and five minutes, impressive and dazzling fireworks guitar on this album. Only here the guitar is always in the service of the song and not just to show what they can do on those six strings . "The Answer" is definitely one of the best songs on the album. Tony's guitar intersects the marrow and the bass lines of Michel Mulder are solid, no frills but all top.

In spring Tony Spinner was still in the Netherlands and at the Blue Moose Fest gave us a preview of his new album with the next song, "Hot Mess." Even then we said it sounds like it will be a great CD. And yes , the song still sounds at home as well and strong as when in April on the meadow in Groesbeek . You should hear back from the bass lines here that really rumble in your gut. The short and tight percussion of drummer Alex Steier completes it. The rest of "Earth Music For Aliens" comes with the slow blues song "Good For Me." This song is about a bad relationship and you hear the sadness in Spinner's guitar. But all is not over. The listener is again drawn into the funky rock blues song "Stop." We get pure uncomplicated retro rock about life on the road in "It's A Living." This is timeless music for young and old. Tony cooks up a greasy intense solo from his Gibson in "Low Down Dirty Shame." one of the weaker songs on the CD. Fortunately, that dip is but short-lived because, with "Got What I Wanted," the guitar splashes again as never before. The rhythm section supports the frontman in a grandiose manner.

This kind of music makes a person like me very happy. The acoustic "Free Now" does not really appeal to me. It does not have to be rock or blues rock to be good Mister Spinner must have thought. To finish, he plays a really genuine 12 bar blues song, "No Good."  This is a feast. Beautifully sung, the masterful guitar wails, solid bass lines and tight drumming. Top song.

A wonderful mix of honest rock, blues and funk. Tony Spinner, Michel Mulder and Alex Steier will be on tour in April and May, 2014  through Europe to promote "Earth Music For Aliens." So check Tony's website so you will not miss it because Tony Spinner live is always a must and the songs on this new album will certainly do well on stage.

Walter Vanheuckelom


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