Sad Boy Trouble
Can You Feel It?
Sad Boy Trouble is a true working band. A glance at their upcoming gigs on their web site (www.sadboytrouble.com) shows them playing multiple gigs each weekend all summer long. Such extensive stage experience clearly shines through on their latest album Can You Feel It? From the mastery of their instruments to the excellent Soundmill production to the caliber of songwriting, everything about this album demands to be taken seriously. According to their web site, Sad Boy Trouble is a blend of "Chicago Blues, Texas Blues, and Classic Rock." Personally I hear a bit of 80s hard rock as well, but since it's been close to twenty years, I suppose that could be considered "classic" rock in a technical sense. Many blues bands focus on covers of blues classics and while Sad Boy Trouble covers bands ranging from Stevie Ray Vaughan to Pink Floyd to Stray Cats, the ten songs on this recent offering are all originals. "Groove Thang", the opening track, is a blistering instrumental reminiscent of the great Stevie Ray Vaughan, full of boogie rock and amazing guitar work. The S.R. Vaughan vein continues on "Everything" with its nice blues guitar groove and enticing organ pad. On "Forever", Sad Boy Trouble mixes a Whitesnake-era ballad with a Boston-derived chorus to create an effective love song perfect for holding that special someone while downing a choice beverage. "Spirit of Stevie" begins deceptively with the opening two vocal harmony chords of "Because" by the Beatles before charging into a rocking tribute to Stevie Ray Vaughan, although the rich vocal harmonies continue throughout. The Texas blues guitars are traded for acoustic in "Caryatid", a quiet instrumental as soothing as sitting beside a quiet stream on a lazy summer afternoon, watching leaves gently waft by. The title track, "Can You Feel It?" is a grand departure. Instead of the blues-based rock of the previous tracks, this number has an almost disco vibe with the addition of a wailing sax and a funky guitar riff. It's a fine song but it just seems a bit out of place among the earlier songs with their amazing guitar playing and solid blues-rock songwriting. Regardless, this album shows why Sad Boy Trouble gets so many gigs: they are just plain good! You can catch them live just about everywhere this summer but you might want to pick up this album at a Wooden Nickel to help you cope with the few days they have off.
This review first appeared in WhatzUp, May 2001.