Smokey Holman Makes Tweed Funk 'Come Together' on New Tweed Tone Records Release [REVIEW]

By Mike Greenblatt | May 08, 2016 01:58 PM EDT
Tweed Funk gets the party started on 'Come Together.' (Photo : James Conway)

Tweed Funk lead singer Joseph "Smokey" Holman ain't gonna let a little thing like cancer slow him down! Despite facing chemo and an elongated absence from the road, Come Together (Tweed Tone Records) positively reeks of that oldschool Memphis mentality. The horns, the excitement, the songs, and, especially, the vocals sound straight outa Stax until you realize they're from Milwaukee.

The legendary Curtis Mayfield [1942-1999] discovered Holman when he was singing with The Domestic 4 in Chicago. This cat's got a voice on him that could fill the Grand Canyon. When he wraps his considerable pipes around the title tune (not to be confused with the Beatle song of the same name), it's got an effect not unlike that of the greats when you first hear them. You stop in your tracks, no matter what you're doing, and you listen. Then you get down with the sound.

The band has been rocking since 2010. For their fourth CD, they've concentrated on all originals, 10 of 'em, written mostly by bassist/keyboardist Eric Madunic (one funky MFer!) and guitarist JD Optekar. Special guest trumpeter Doug Woolverton from Roomful of Blues blows long and loud throughout. And with Chrissy Dzioba and Sara Moilanen of The Whiskeybelles supplying those sexy soulful background vocals, you've got a real party going on.

"Love Ain't Easy" is my highlight, mainly because of the outrageous honking of Andrew Spadafora on both tenor and bari sax. But it's Holman's show. Filled to the brim with funky rhythm'n'blues, down'n'dirty blues, uptown funk and even a few sweet soul moments to catch your breath, Come Together is a downright doozy. Now excuse me, I just got to get up and dance!

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