Gary Small has released his "Native Americana" CD, entitled Wild Indians. Small is Native American and a member of the Northern Cheyenne Tribe whose reservation is located in remote southeastern Montana. His new CD is a powerful blend of his masterful vocal like guitar coupled with powerful songwriting regarding the many facets of this country's indigenous peoples.
Portland Oregon's, Willamette Week Magazine had this to say about Small's latest release:
"...Small's guitar playing so reminiscent of Carlos Santana it's stunning. In fact it wouldn't be unfair to say Small could become the Santana of Native American music-translating his history through myriad musical forms in a way that speaks on several levels."
Indeed, the unmistakable influence of Carlos Santana is prevalent in Small's crying, emotional guitar style and many more future comparisons of the two guitarists are inevitable. On that note, after viewing the Wild Indians liner notes it is not surprising to see the likes of Graham Lear, drummer extraordinaire, and a former 12-year veteran of Santana, as Small's current drummer. Therefore, it is no further surprise that the percussion on this CD is stellar. From this point the comparison of Santana and Small ends. Small takes, as he describes, "The Red Road".
The CD opens with a short fan-fare piece entitled "Morning at Little Bighorn" a tribute to Small's tribe who fought at the Battle of the Little Bighorn into a powerful Bob Marley like reggae groove, "Crazy Moon". Small describes, "The song is from a conversation I had with Pete Depoe, the original drummer of my childhood heroes, Redbone. a day when the tribes act as one voice, one message, one vision, just like the Ghost Dance was meant to be for Indians."
The most graphic song describes the darker side of the federal governments relationship to the sovereign Indian nations, "The Angry Song", this reggae ballad tells the story of Small's father who was removed from the reservation to an Indian Boarding School a great distance away in Genoa, Nebraska. "This is a dirty piece of history that the people of this country no little about nor will the federal government take responsibility for their actions. My father to this day has a lot of mental scars from that horrible ordeal and I have seen his suffering personally. "The Angry Song" is to enlighten and hopefully heal what has been damaged. My father was just one of many, and Indians to this day are still picking up the broken pieces from being forced into assimilation."
This is not an "angry" CD however; the Native American sense of humor is prevalent in "Lucrecia's Kitchen", a fictitious account of a Starbucks type coffee shop opening up in the highly unlikely location of Lame Deer, Montana.
The only contemporary song dealing with the four letter word "love' is "The Stars Don't Shine". "I am not fond of love songs in general but I did one for the CD. It is supposed to be a little tongue in cheek as I don't make for a very romantic warrior."
The above-mentioned songs are powerful reggae and world beat grooves excellently performed by Smalls powerful percussion section. Each song is beautifully colored with Small's emotional yet understated guitar work, which is a sign of his maturity on his instrument. However his two instrumentals "Children of the Snow" a tribute to Cheyenne children who were killed by the Cavalry at Fort Robinson, Nebraska and "Warrior's Overture" a tribute to Indian veterans show that this Cheyenne guitar slinger is a force to be reckoned with. For more information on ordering "Wild Indians" or about The Gary Small Band visit www.garysmallband.com