In an era when anyone can remix classic LPs, download drum loops or strum a few chords onto a computer and cut and paste their way to fame, The Paul Speidel Band is a group of three seasoned musicians who make something special happen on stage through playing live music. A Boston music scene veteran, Speidel and his band put in 10 years of dues-paying in local blues haunts before the release of their long-awaited debut CD, "The Paul Speidel Band". This CD showcases their unique blend of rockin' blues, jazzy grooves and catchy hooks and riffs. Like their blues and jazz colleagues of eras past, this band brought their live playing experience into the studio, capturing the edge and attitude of the music the moment it all came together. Speidel explains:
"We think a lot about what it means to play The Blues
and related roots styles in the digital age. How do you
pay tribute to the great players in the style without
doing the same things they did? For us, it's interpreting
the tradition through live playing, re-telling the story
of the music by playing it the way we hear it. The Blues
is an American legacy which has informed all styles of
popular music, and the beauty of it is that, while it's
universal in experience, it's so personal in expression.
We are constantly challenged and fulfilled by this music
when we improvise together while playing live...the old
blues groups were the first jam bands!"
Reviews of "The Paul Speidel Band"...
"From the minute I popped this disc into the CD player, I began bobbing my head and tapping my feet.
Can you say feeling and energy? Throughout this entire album, all three musicians play with such feeling and great energy that it just bleeds right through the speakers. So many musicians today have lost sight of the "music" and simply play as part of a routine. The Paul Speidel Band is one of the few groups with genuine musicians who honestly love what they are doing and play from their soul. Although there were no lyrics on this disc, the emotion can be felt simply by listening.
For a debut CD, this one was a big score! Aside from just the talent, the sound was clear and the mixing was well done. From the first song "The Opener" to the last "D-Bop Blues," this album kept me hooked from beginning to end.
-- Laurie Hackney (Live Magazine)
"Guitarist Speidel kicks off the aptly titled "The Opener" with workman-like precision, then goes on to lead his full-bodied sound across some multi-dimensional blues trio territory. His picking is sharpest and cleanest on the "Hear My Cry/Breakdown" medley; only "Motor Cycle" runs out of steam halfway through.
Taking nothing away from the art of singing, it's a real pleasure to hear an album of instrumentals. Some icing is added with one acoustic number -- "E-Mail 'E' Rag" -- but this remains a serving of gutsy electric blues, with longtime band members Brendan Byrnes on drums and Ed Spargo on bass, not only providing a sturdy foundation, but also egging Speidel on. Things get slinky on the echo-y "Slowburn" and giddy on "D-Bop Blues." “A-”
-- Ed Symkus (Cambridge TAB)
"Rocking instrumental blues is what the Paul Speidel Band does with this collection of eight tunes. The band is just Speidel on guitar, bassist Ed Spargo and drummer Brendan Byrnes. It is the blues with a steady beat, featuring Speidel's seemingly endless collection of guitar riffs, all performed cleanly with excellent production.
There are elements of Stevie Ray and jazz evident in this collection. The fact that there are no lyrics actually makes it easy to listen to, particularly since Speidel has such control over his instrument, there are no jagged edges or distorted guitar lines. "Hear My Cry/Breakdown" uses a guitar effect, but it is done smoothly, reminding the listener of Robin Trower. It is long like a Trower song, with unexpected twists and turns. "Slowburn", as its title might suggest, is a slow blues. Instead of the usual agonized "My baby done me wrong" lyrics, Speidel expressively uses string bending to make his guitar talk, which is an improvement over the usual way this type of thing is done. He also shows his mastery of blues guitar playing, as does the riff laden "Motor Cycle." The latter features tasty walking bass lines. "E-Mail 'E' Rag" is a short change of pace, using just acoustic guitar. "D Bop Blues" ends the CD with a bop flavored number that is as much jazz as blues.
This is a great CD for guitar fans, and not just those into blues.
-- Dave Howell (Southbound Beat Magazine)