Kenny Wesley probably isn't a name you're familiar with, unless you're a die-hard “So You Think You Can Dance” fan. However, with his debut album The Real Thing, Wesley has immediately established himself as a serious -and seriously fun- artist who's looking to bring funk back.
Welsey influences are undeniable – half the tracks on this album sound like great 70s funk, in the vein of Parliament or the Jacksons, with a heaping helping of current-day synthesizers on top. Wesley shines on these tracks, such as Real Thing and Taffy, with some down-and-dirty fuzz guitar riffs and hot drumming that make head-bobbing a virtual necessity.
At a glance, comparisons to the White Stripes are inevitable for the StereoFidelics. A male guitarist, a female drummer, and rock-n-roll gusto to spare – like their influences before them, Chris Padgett and Melissa McGinley can’t be contained within a single genre – a fact that their latest release, You Are Having A Wonderful Time, only serves to cement.
Unlike the Whites, Padgett simultaneously plays guitar and bass (with his feet) and Mellissa can truly play drums, sing, kick ass on the fiddle, and do all three at roughly the same time.
If you think the title is presumptuous, think again. A throwback to virtuoso guitar greats of the 60s and 70s, Padgett casually breathes new life into what feels like a familiar, yet forgotten friend. Meanwhile, McGinley captivates the listener, laying down a groove that would leave the likes of John Bonham bobbing his head, while piercing your ears with the power and finesse of an Etta James.
For a mesmerizing musical journey that seemingly encompasses everything the StereoFidelics represent, look no further than the title track. What starts with Padgett’s laid back descent into a chemical stream of consciousness ends six minutes later in the unbridled frenzy that is McGinley’s electric violin… and when she promises she will “haunt you,” you have no choice but to believe.
From beginning to end, you’ll find that the StereoFidelics offer one musical gem after the next, ranging from the hypnotic tension of A Round to the happy-go-lucky playfulness of You Know I Would. And when McGinley sings, “I bet you’d love me if I gave you the world,” you have to admit, even if the world isn’t hers to give, You Are Having A Wonderful Time.