Vince Junior Band – Refreshingly Soulful Blues
11 songs time-34:27
If you’re looking for some blues music you’ve come to the wrong place. If you’re looking for some good music you’ve come to the right place. The music put down by Vince Junior Band owes more to cool jazz, light funk and even a bit of country coloring. There are touches of blues in some guitar solos, but blues aren’t the main thrust of this music. Vince’s husky and warm voice over the soothing cool jazz vibe of the band comforts you like an old friend. Vince handles the guitar with a light touch. Noah Pitts is a wiz on Fender Rhodes electric piano, supplying jazzy goodness to the songs. Steve Frankel’s steady hand on the bass along with David Cohen’s on the money drumming give a solid foundation to the songs. These guys do it all without any outside musicians helping out. Vince wrote all but two of the songs with an eye for original subject matter and thoughtful lyrics.
There is nothing to not like here, refreshing is the word that comes to my mind. Whatever label you choose to give to this music it will have to be preceded by good. This Asheville, North Carolina outfit follows their own muse.
The band just kind of breezes right into things with the jazzy “Empty Nesting”, an ode to the relief of the kids “flying the coop”, all set to an easy rolling groove. “Small Ghosts” is a bouncy country-ish tune that lopes along quite nicely. The guys get funky on “Step Sister”. It features some country meets funk guitar styling’s by the boss. The narrator pines for the girl and her car in the way cool and smooth “Camaro Sue”.
The tempo picks back up on the jaunty “Tight Tonight”. Noah lays down some really tasty piano here, as he does through out the proceedings. This is a song about “the horizontal mambo”…nudge, nudge, wink, wink…say no more. Their instrumental version of Jimi Hendrix’ “Little Wing” bares little resemblance to the original, but it is a lovely tune. “Shake Your Rig” is dedicated to the writer’s fondness for big woman and their skill on the dance floor. “If you’re kinda big, come and shake your rig”.
Bluesy-jazzy guitar informs “This Is The Way”. “Never Got Grey” mourns the passing of young musical stars, pondering on what their future music might of sounded like. The Beatles’ “Don’t Let Me Down” is given a reggae beat with a lovely guitar solo along with prominent bass playing from Steve Frankel.
Here ya have it folks. Although the title is a misnomer, there is plenty of good music within. It’s a nice change of pace. Nice to see a band apply their own unique vision to their music. And what’s more-It works!
That Vince Junior manages to juggle fatherhood, a career as a fourth grade teacher, and his musical outings is remarkable enough, but that he is able to make records – how-
ever infrequent – as satisfying as this one is even more so. The Last Tear is a generous collection of sixteen songs (fifteen of which are originals) exploring such basic themes as family, romance, and the seemingly mun- dane challenges of everyday life.
The overall tone is jaunty and upbeat, threaded with a recurrent theme extolling wise acceptance of the absurdities that inevitably come our way. “Cincinnati ‘79” is the obvious exception: it’s a mournful rumination on the tragic stampede at a concert by The Who that left eleven young fans dead, an event that the artist witnessed first hand.
On hand to assist Vince Junior (whose own blues-infused resonator guitar work is stellar) are a number of Asheville’s finest musicians, many of whom share the sacred calling of teaching and each of whom demonstrate just how sonically blessed our fair city is. The end result is a smart collection of songs that should appeal to the grown ups among us. Just don’t be too surprised if you find the kids dancing along! James Cassara Rapid River Magazine
Review for "Heading Home"
Vince's distinctive, gravelly voice is easily recognizable and unmistakably his own- a rare gift which very few singers these days seem to possess. Heading Home pumps and trucks along like a freight train across the open landscape of classic Americana. The Indie
Reviews for "Better Than a Wheel"
"Vince Junior shows great skill and originality with his acoustic and resonator guitar work. His songs have a nice, funky groove to them, and are deceptively subtle with a nice turn of phrase." Dirty Linen Magazine
Reviews for Parents' Choice Award Winning CD " Swing For The Sky"
"When I go to the zoo / No animal there goes moo moo moo/That's true," goes the opening track of this winning collection of songs for kids, accompanied by nice raggy fingerpicking and resonator slide. And if you play this CD around small ones in your house, you'd better believe that you will all soon be strutting around and belting out these words. Vince Junior is a solid bluesy guitarist with a gift for the simple statement, from the sweetly strummed "You're My Friend" to the stop-time drumming of "Freeze." Highly recommended for folk-rooted families.
Jeffrey Pepper Rodgers - Acoustic Guitar Magazine
This recording of 23 original songs written and recorded by Vince Junior is a compilation of his most popular children’s songs of the 90’s, as well as five new songs. He plays the guitar and provides strong, distinctive vocals. His coarse voice is reminiscent of Tom Paxton and Woody Guthrie. The songs are fresh and vibrant. Children will enjoy the sound of Junior’s slide guitar. One of the best things about this collection is the different musical styles that are represented-Zydeco, funk, bluegrass, blues, calypso, rock and roll and more. The songs are fun and instructive, reflecting Junior’s background in education. (He has a Masters in Elementary Education and is a National Board Certified Teacher.) Many of the songs, including, “Hey Zydeco” and “Cows, Part Two,” would be appropriate as part of a multicultural lesson. The engaging music will have listeners singing and moving along to the beat. Kids will love dancing and stopping to the “Freeze” song, a fun version of the “Hoky Poky” with the addition of a freeze component. Lyrics are not included. This is an entertaining title for public and school libraries.
Marien Ostergard - School Library Journal (Nov, 2000)
With foot-tapping country western and zydeco rhythms and almost two dozen songs for sing-along and move-along fun, children's artist Vince Junior draws young children into a sunny, playful, gentle and child-empowering world. Varied, top-notch instrumentals and Vince Jr.'s idiosyncratic vocals make for parent-friendly listening, too.
Lynne Heffley - Parents' Choice (Dec, 2000)
Comments from fans:
VINCE JUNIOR IS A PURE NATURAL WITH/FOR CHILDREN
Vince Junior is one of those rare artists that truly knows how to write childrens songs. But the uncanny thing is that his songs are not just for children. They touch and move the souls of adults as well. I am a hard-core Woody Guthrie fan, but not even Woody Guthrie, Pete Seeger, or LeadBelly were able to write childrens songs at the high caliber with which Mr. Junior writes/performs. Vince does not talk down to the children; he inspires them, he encourages them, and he teaches them. Vince Junior does more on one album than most elementary school teachers do in a lifetime of teaching. In short, Vince is a natural...a child's musical dream.
Teachers, Parents, and Kids all love this album
My first-grader brought this CD into his gym teacher, who used it and then loaned it to his music teacher. All of his teachers loved it so much that we bought a bunch of copies to give as end-of-year gifts! My six-year-old, four-year-old, and two-year-old love it equally, and I'm thrilled that they finally agree upon an album that I'm willing to listen to fifteen times in a row.
Swing For The Sky is a real gem
This CD is fresh, funny and touching, with something for all ages. Both kids and adults will respond to the way Vince Jr plays from the heart and never talks down to those younger than he is. I have even witnessed a van full of teenagers putting this CD on and singing along for the sheer fun of it! Highly recommended.
Vince Junior Takes Family Audience on Musical Journey
Vince Junior doesn’t just write and perform great songs for children as much as taking his listeners on a magic carpet ride through musical styles ranging from blues, country, zydeco, calypso, folk, funk and pop. With lyrics that are at times belly-laugh silly and others earnest and sweet, Junior inspires kids and parents alike to look at the world through different eyes. Junior, an accomplished musician, won a Parents’ Choice Award for an earlier version of his children’s album, “Swing for the Sky,” and was a teacher for the Peace Corps in North Africa. Laura Blackley - Asheville Citizen Times (Oct 12, 2007)