RetroRocket is the continuing story of the Blues Extensions, a series of original music dedicated to preserving the roots of the Blues, yet re-casting them with a modern sound. It began with the release of the Paul Speidel Band's self-titled debut CD in 2004, and continues forward with RetroRocket. The series was the culmination of the band's work during ten years of dues-paying around the Boston area in Blues clubs, Jazz clubs and corner bars. Rather than making more retread recordings of standards everyone has played for years, the Paul Speidel Band was looking to take their experience playing Blues-based music and do something new with it. Their debut CD's hard-hitting Chicago Blues and Blues-Rock sound went beyond the cliches and ventured into improvisational terrain, while at the same time showcasing Paul Speidel's unique arranging skills, much like a clever Pop album.
With RetroRocket, the band's playing is even more expressive, the production cleaner, and deeper arrangements contain even more captivating narratives. As the CD's title suggests, the band extends its power trio sound further beyond the roots styles than most Blues bands dare. Along the way they rocket through Roadhouse Blues, Funk Shuffles, Motown, 30's Swing, swampy Afro-pop and more. This is a forward-looking work which indicates not just where the Blues has been, but where it's going in the future.
“Wow – best album yet! I was especially impressed by your production and arranging skills. I’ve already listened to it twice through but I’m just starting to get a handle on the tunes. Beauty springs from the simplicity of your soothing melodies and the playfulness of your intertwining harmonies and rhythms. I find this CD amazingly accessible and listenable. I could imagine hearing this music as a motion picture soundtrack, or on a blues, fusion, smooth jazz, or roots radio station. Remarkable!” Phil Steffen (Artist Representative, The Music Company)
"Paul Speidel is one of the finest musician gentlemen that you’ll ever meet in this business. With seven albums to his credit, he continues to churn out instrumental music that touches on blues, fusion, jazz and rock. His latest album, RetroRocket, is one of the best local releases of the year and positions Speidel as one of the leading instrumentalists on the scene today." Brian Owens (Publisher/Editor, Metronome Magazine)
"Ronnie Earl and Matthew Stubbs aren't the only blues-and-beyond guitarists in southern New England making strong instrumental albums. On his own material, Speidel shines with calibrated, elevated playing that draws on his muse and on a congenital sense of what makes sense musically. Fortunately, he doesn't feel compelled to show off his technical skill. Transatlantic Beat Exchange, one standout, makes fascinating connections to Nigeria's Fela Kuti." (Three and-a-half stars!) Frank-John Hadley, Downbeat Magazine