Woodward Avenue Records is pleased to announce the signing of double Grammy winner and guitarist, Paul Brown, for the recording of Paul’s new album entitled “The Funky Joint,” due to be released on Woodward on March 6, 2012. Paul Brown also serves as producer on his new album, which features appearances by Boney James, Euge Groove, Bob James, Jonathan Fritzen and “The Producers” tour-mate, Darren Rahn.
“This album allows Paul to unleash his musical roots and just let it rip” says Mark Nordman, President and CEO of Woodward Avenue Records, “while at the same time being true to the sound that has earned him over 50 # 1 Hits.”
After switching to the Stratocaster on his previous album, Paul Brown returns to his trademark Gibson L-5 and engages in some of the richest, most expressive playing of his career on his sixth solo recording, the perfectly titled deeply grooving, blues and R&B intensive Woodward Avenue debut The Funky Joint. The veteran guitarist and composer complements his crisp and cool melodies and licks with harmonies and solos by many of the top artists that he has produced or played with over the years, including Boney James, Bob James, Euge Groove, Marc Antoine, Bob Baldwin and Darren Rahn. Yet whether he’s amping up or chilling out, he keeps his axe front and center as the emotional lead voice.
The invitation to enter The Funky Joint begins with the mid tempo title track, which features the rising coolness of the Jerry Hey horns and cool retro atmospheres behind Brown’s crisp melody. With a classic soul-jazz vibe reminiscent of Stanley Turrentine’s classic “Sugar,” “As Clear As Day” is a wistful off the beaten path venture featuring a light funk swirl of Boney James’ sax, Brown’s electric, Antoine’s acoustic and colorful synth flute harmonies by Marco Basci. Taking us next on a moody and sensual excursion to “Montreux,” Brown floats his easygoing lines over Basci’s simmering keys and touches of retro-soul elegance; as it heats up, the track features more playful guitar action and a shimmering Fender Rhodes solo.
On the seductive, easy swaying “Say It Like It Is,” Brown kicks it with some crunchy, shuffling percussion textures and dark toned keys before drifting into a gentle tropical vibe enhanced by the horns and elegant wordless vocals. The reflective ballad “Love Don’t Come EZ,” featuring Brown’s first lead vocal of the set, finds him complementing his lyrics about what it takes to make love work with dark guitar tones and hypnotic hand clap percussion. From easy to hard, “Tuff Times” meditates beautifully on the challenges of romance with a strumming style and sharp tone like that of Larry Carlton, backed by the horns and elegant piano harmonies of guest star Jonathan Fritzen. Brown penned the mid tempo, easy grooving “Backstage Pass” with keyboardists Bob Baldwin and Bob James, and with some crafty arrangement choices, the result is a spirited all out duet between Brown and James, with the pianist’s graceful runs playing off the easy high toned strum lines as hypnotic atmospheres color the background.
On “Ya Dig,” Brown translates the chemistry he and Rahn share onstage into a soul searching ballad; as the passion rises, both the guitar and Rahn’s sax (which is doubled on the hook) reach exciting heartfelt places. While “From the Ground Up” is billed featuring Euge Groove, Brown lays a thoughtful bluesy ballad foundation before the saxman enters and takes it to the next emotional place; Brown and Groove’s soaring bluesy fun is well worth the few minute wait. Though it’s a slight departure from the rest of the set, Brown’s closer, the powerful uplifting blues vocal tune “I Get A Feeling,” takes his artistry to a level that some of the previous simmering blues excursions only hinted at. It may come at the end, and it might surprise listeners who best know Brown for his in the pocket easy funk, but “I Get A Feeling” is clearly the emotional centerpiece of this rewarding trip to The Funky Joint.