Band Site: www.hottexastunes.com
According to Dennis' website, his first release, titled “Soulitude” is a blend of blues, a dash of Country and Southern Rock with a touch of smooth jazz and Americana Pop groove. Dennis lists John Mayer, Counting Crows, and Matchbox Twenty as influences, and he definitely touches a bit on those sounds but overall he does his own thing. The album was recorded at Sugar Hill Studios by Andy Bradley. For the sessions, Andy helped Dennis recruit talented local players, and considering the result, they were picked very well. Listening to the 7 songs CD “Soulitude”, I feel that the country influence is heavier than stated, especially in Michael's voice. Some of the tunes don't work quite well with his voice or vocal delivery, which is a bit too “twangy”, especially on “Choices”. It might be a personal thing but these line phrasings just had me cringe a bit:
“Sometimes emotion has you tangled up inside
Youre (sic.) prior painful choices got you leaning to one side”.
Overall the musicianship is solid and the production is top notch. The vocals work well on the other songs, even though I feel some of that twang comes in to play in a few places that seems to be an acquired taste for me. “Pleasure That You Sell” has saxophone work by David Caceres that really stands out. The bass performed by Yusef Elkourchi also caught my attention. Michael plays some very solid guitar and his lead sit in well with the arrangement. It is a very pleasant and well performed album, and if you can skip “Choices” it is well worth checking out.
Reviewed by A. Dorian