Cta (California Transit Authority) | Sacred Ground

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Rock: Classic Rock Jazz: Jazz-Rock Moods: Mood: Virtuoso
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Sacred Ground

by Cta (California Transit Authority)

Searing guitar, blazing brass lines, dead on vocals, killer songs & unstoppable rhythmic drive = “Chicago” on steroids
Genre: Rock: Classic Rock
Release Date: 

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  Song Share Time Download
1. Sacred Ground (feat. Will Champlin & Ed Roth)
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4:53 album only
2. The Real World (feat. Larry Braggs, Danny Seraphine & Marc Bonilla)
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4:25 album only
3. I Love You More Than You'll Ever Know (feat. Larry Braggs)
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5:54 album only
4. Out of Reason (feat. Marc Bonilla)
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3:08 album only
5. Primetime
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4:49 album only
6. Conviction (Song for Ronnie) [feat. Ed Roth]
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0:59 album only
7. Strike (While the Iron Is Hot) [feat. Will Champlin]
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4:05 album only
8. Chorale
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1:12 album only
9. Full Circle (feat. Bill Champlin)
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5:08 album only
10. Staring At the Sun (feat. Marc Bonilla & Will Champlin)
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3:45 album only
11. In the Kitchen (feat. Peter Fish, Danny Seraphine, Luis Conte)
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2:59 album only
12. Take Me Back to Chicago (feat. Larry Braggs, Peter Fish, Marc Bonilla)
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6:25 album only
13. Go On (feat. Eric Redd, Marc Bonilla)
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4:48 album only
14. Daydream Lover (feat. Wes Quave)
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4:25 album only


Album Notes
CTA – Sacred Ground
At the dawn of the hard-rocking 1970s, Chicago blew out of the Windy City to populate the pop charts for the next several decades and earn their place in rock 'n' roll history. Back then a "horn band" was a brand new idea, and the group's wide-ranging brand of "jazz rock" carved out a whole new sub-genre. With searing guitar, blaring brass, a dead-on vocal blend, killer songs and an unstoppable rhythmic drive, the adventurous spirit and freewheeling musicality of those early Chicago recordings has never quite been matched.

Until now.

Say hello to CTA. Based in LA and fueled by the creative passion and pure percussive power of original Chicago drummer Danny Seraphine, CTA is all about a man – and a band – on a mission.
With the 2013 release of their landmark sophomore CD, Sacred Ground, CTA accomplishes that mission and a whole lot more. Working side-by-side with acclaimed guitarist Marc Bonilla, whose co-production, playing and co-writing are front-and-center throughout the project, Seraphine throws down the musical gauntlet with a collection of songs that takes the music full circle and lays a new cornerstone for the jazz/rock genre.

For Seraphine, Sacred Ground is the realization of a vision that began to take root when he left his former band in 1990. Fast forward to the 21st century, and CTA – The creative team of Seraphine and Bonilla, along with keyboardists Ed Roth and Peter Fish, and bassist Mick Mahan – came together in southern California with the simple goal of making the most of the music they love. It was an infectious idea. The band's 2008 debut, Full Circle, garnered critical raves and spawned some now-legendary live CTA performances. The album also marked Seraphine's long-awaited reconnection with his former Chicago bandmate, Bill Champlin.

Three years in the making, Sacred Ground takes Seraphine's vision to the next level. Aided and abetted by Champlin (and his son, acclaimed vocalist Will Champlin), along with an A-team of LA touring and studio veterans, CTA's skin-tight arrangements and pure musicianship maximize the impact of these 14 hook-laden songs.

With a funky backbeat and a signature horn line, the album's title cut – featuring a career-high performance from the younger Champlin – gets things off to an auspicious start, musically and thematically. CTA and company take the opportunity to stretch out on take-no-prisoners instrumentals like "Primetime" and "In The Kitchen," displaying a versatility and a virtuosity that feels like a breath of fresh, creative air across today's over-programmed radio landscape.

True to form, CTA also takes on a couple of choice covers. Larry Bragg's soaring vocal on the funky-and-nostalgic "Take Me Back to Chicago" will bring chill bumps and a smile to longtime fans, while his singing on the Blood, Sweat & Tears classic, "I Love You More Than You'll Ever Know" catapults Al Kooper's original to new heights.

By any definition, Sacred Ground is an eclectic collection, but somehow the brush-stroked balladry of "Go On" (delivered in a soulful near-whisper by vocalist Eric Redd) feels right at home next to the urbane, horn-driven shuffle of "Strike" (wherein the younger Champlin once again does his dad proud). The album's vocal high point, however, belongs to the Bill Champlin, whose masterful performance transforms the moving and cathartic "Full Circle" into the album's centerpiece.

Each individual track on Sacred Ground carves out its own space, but the overall theme – of self-realization, circles unbroken and musical rebirth – lives and breathes in every one of these extraordinary songs. For everyone involved, the making of Sacred Ground was a full-on labor of love.

"It's taken me a while to get here, but I feel like CTA is in a very good place," Seraphine says. "I'm very proud of this band, and I feel like we've made a record that will stand up for generations to come."


to write a review

Scott Gross - Inside Musicast.com

Returning With A Vengeance
When Danny Seraphine re-emerged onto the music scene with his group CTA in 2007, it was truly a time for celebration. Seraphine was back and sounding better than ever and the group was ...off the chain with their album titled FULL CIRCLE. Some had dismissed this effort as a “tribute band” to the early sound of the group Chicago when it was so much more than that. With the new album SACRED GROUND, now the gloves are really off.
You can’t call SACRED GROUND another “Chicago tribute” when CTA is now better than the group they’re supposedly paying tribute to. The new project is an explosive collection of songs that holds nothing back. The performances are electric, the production is honest and inspired and it all comes together like they’ve been playing for decades. Leading off the disc is the album title song featuring Will Champlin on vocals with his dad Bill Champlin on backgrounds. The track grooves hard and Will nails it even harder with his outstanding execution. The next track “The Real World” continues the onslaught with a classic Seraphine percussive intro into rich horns, Larry Braggs’ tenor vox and a fantastic guitar/horn section duel featuring Marc Bonilla. “I Love You More Than You’ll Ever Know” breaks it down into a blues mode with Braggs pouring his heart out. The vibe of this track also morphs into a jazzy feel featuring outstanding horn arrangements & guitar by Bonilla. Will Champlin is back to give Michael Buble a run for his money on “Strike (While The Iron’s Hot)” and Bill Champlin delivers on the heart of the album with “Full Circle”. Other fantastic songs include the instrumental “Primetime”, “Staring At The Sun” (featuring a great vocal pairing of Marc Bonilla & Will Champlin), the other instrumental “In The Kitchen” (featuring Peter Fish, Seraphine w/Luis Conte!) & a first-class rendition of Seraphine’s song “Take Me Back To Chicago” (featuring Larry Braggs & Monet Owens on vocals.) SACRED GROUND is a solid album with absolutely no filler added.
CTA is Danny Seraphine on drums, Marc Bonilla on guitars/vocals, Ed Roth on keys, Mick Mahan on bass & Peter Fish on additional keys. Special guests are Larry Braggs on lead vocals, Bill Champlin, Will Champlin, Wes Quave and Eric Redd on lead & backing vocals, Monet Owens on backing vocals, Luis Conte on percussion, Travis Davis on bass & backing vocals, Andrew Ford on bass (Strike), Rick Keller on tenor sax & flute and horn orchestration, Jamie Hovorka on trumpet & flugelhorn, Chris Tedesco, Walt Fowler, Rob Schaer & Gary Halopoff on trumpets and Francisco Torres & Nick Lane on Trombones.

Andrew T

Sacred Ground Is Genius!
In my opinion, CTA is right up there with some of the best American rock bands ever. If you liked Chicago's most popular songs, you will LOVE this album. Drummer Danny Seraphine and his band really blew me away with their jazzy, funky, groovy tunes. It's just so catchy--you can't NOT love it.

ReGaL Music

Best New "Horn Band" in many years!!!
I grew up being a fan of the "horn bands" such as Chicago, Blood Sweat & Tears, Earth Wind & Fire and Tower of Power. In many ways it's been a long dry spell for something new in this genre. The dry spell is over! CTA's "Sacred Ground" is, by far, the BEST new CD I've purchased in that last couple of years. I enjoyed this band's premier recording "Full Circle", but "Sacred Ground" takes them to a new level. The song "Staring At the Sun" is as good as any top 10 songs those 4 great horn bands mentioned earlier ever put out. "Take Me Back to Chicago" and "More Than You'll Ever Know" are cover versions that, in my opinion, are BETTER than the originals. The vocals by Bill Champlin, Larry Braggs, Will Champlin, Marc Bonilla (and others) are outstanding.
Danny Seraphine is playing like...well...Danny Seraphine. Simply some MONSTER licks, especially on the instrumentals. YES, there are some great instrumentals on this CD too. His shuffle groove is especially cool to listen to and he shows great taste in kicking in his double bass at just the right time.
I hope this CD gets the exposure it deserves. I know there are millions of fans of "horn bands" out there that would love this as much as I do if they get to hear it. Thank you CTA for my vote for Best CD of 2013!


Sacred Groove!
I was not familiar with Danny's work in Chicago. I actually started paying attention to him after reading an article in Modern Drummer and seeing him on a Modern Drummer Festival DVD. And I was floored. This album actually insipired me to buy my first drum kit a couple of days ago at the age of 46! This is a celebration of everything that is right about music: great melodies, deep grooves, superb arrangements and stunning vocals/musicianship. This is one of the greatest albums not only in this genre, but for any fan of jazz/funk/soul. Absolutely brilliant!

H Kinch

This project just smokes. If you loved early Chicago, this is for you. Marc Bonilla on guitar is a delight. Horns are tight and blaze. Danny Seraphine continues to establish himself as a RnR legend. Get it...

Patty Molloy- Positive Listening Radio

This is how it's supposed to sound!!!!
Let me begin by saying that as the owner of a radio station, I hear new music all day long. And it's very hard to get me to listen for longer than a minute, let alone impress me. Danny Seraphine, legendary drummer and founding member of the band Chicago, along with Marc Bonilla, Ed Roth, Peter Fish, and a long list of notables, come through BIG TIME with Sacred Ground. Going back to the roots of the first band CTA, this CD delights listeners with toe tapping pop hits as well as the big horn sounds and honest, soulful vocals plus some of the best arrangements I've heard since the 70's. Among my favorite moments are monster, screaming guitar licks reminiscent of the great Terry Kath courtesy of Marc Bonilla. Perfect vocals from the likes of some of my favorite singers, Bill Champlin, Larry Braggs, Will Champin, Eric Redd and Wes Crave. The creme de la creme is the unmistakable drumming of Mr. Danny Seraphine. From hard driving beats on songs like "In the Kitchen", to sweet brush work on "Go On", Danny once again shows us why he's a legend in his own time. "Strike", with Will Champlin on vocals is hands down a hit. I dare you not to hum it all day after your first listen. Strong and soulful as ever, Bill Champlin takes on "Full Circle" passionately, with arrangements that will leave fans of the their former band feeling more than satisfied. My personal favorite, "In the Kitchen" could easily been a cut that was left off Chicago III. Eric Redd's smooth vocals on "Go On" paint a picture of both strength and heartbreak. The two remakes, "Take Me Back to Chicago" and BS&T's "I Love You More Than You'll Ever Know" prove you can take a good thing and make it even better.
This CD is a must have for anyone who appreciates great jazz-rock, pop, and balls to the wall rock and roll.
Bravo CTA!

Bill Fleck

Rockin' & Relevant
Simply put, CTA's record "Sacred Ground" rocks. It features a ridiculously terrific mix of originals and remakes and a stellar band that schools the current version of Chicago. And the vocals--good Kee-rist!! Bill Champlin does his thang on "Full Circle," and, yeah, he's terrific (ditto the backgrounds on "Sacred Ground"). But I'm going to give the highest marks to Marc Bonilla and Will Champlin singing "Staring At the Sun"...Both of these guys are major talents, and their contributions to the record are irreplaceable. Plus you get Larry Braggs on top of it...
This is more than drummer Danny Seraphine getting his groove back; this is an exciting, fresh refurbishing of horn rock, modernized and relevant, with a kick-ass sound that both me and my 17 year-old son can relate to.
This music needs to be heard--big-time!!