BallBuster Music: Quick-Tiques | Review by David LaDuke

Back in October of 2016 Guitarist Paul Nelson messaged me the following, “Thanks for turning me on to all this, Had a great time with Greg and Otis. In fact, he had such a great time he got them signed to Bullseye management, help them secured a record deal with Purple Pyramid Records (A division of Cleopatra) and even played on the album. Now OTIS are preparing to hit the European shores with their unique brand of down-home Southern fried Kentucky Rock, Blues & Roll. The band has already been paying their dues by doing road work with ‘Black Stone Cherry” and the Kentucky Headhunters’ here in the states. “Eyes Of The Sun.” showcases the band in a big way! Strong, solid musicianship of the highest caliber. Yes, I can hear the ZZ Topish influences, but there’s much more than that going on. Sounds of The Allman Brothers, Raging Slab, Molly Hatchet, 38 Special, Lynyrd Skynyrd but believe me; this is an OTIS record! Each musician here complements each other. The guitar sounds and mixed is one to be reckoned. These guys are pros, and this album shows that from track one forward. Powerful, passionate vocals, damn beautiful harmonies, and some of the finest arrangements I’ve have heard in some time! The two guitarist jell very well with each other, and the rhythm section no doubt delivers a strong foundation and punch. 1st track ‘Change’ begins with a muscular Allman Brother vibe and some nifty slide work.
Track 2 ‘Blind Hawg’ is a hard rocking blues outing which includes some well-crafted hooks to reel you right in. Overall you have ten tracks of pure Southern-fried hard rocking boogie blues and one acoustic outing to lighten the load a bit. OTIS is the real deal and determined the south shall rise again. There you have it. I washed my hands in dirty water!

www.cleopatrarecords.com

www.otisband.net

Quick-Tiques | OTIS “Eyes Of The Sun” | Purple Pyramid Records
By David LaDuke January 5, 2018

INK 19 – Year in Review

Year in Review

by Michelle Wilson

Otis

Eyes Of The Sun

Purple Pyramid Records/Cleopatra Records

When you have the likes of Greg Martin (Kentucky Headhunters), Billy Gibbons (ZZ Top) and Paul Nelson (Johnny Winter) on your team, you must be damn good. That’s exactly the case with Otis, a four-piece band who recently signed with Cleopatra Records, and deservedly so. Singer/guitarists Boone Froggett and Steve Jewell along with bassist/vocalist John Seeley and drummer/vocalist Andrew Gilpin round out the lineup of one of the hottest up-and-coming blues/rock bands on today’s music scene. And they have the chops to back it up. In 2014, the boys paid homage to the late, great John Brim with a mind-blowing tribute record, Tough Times, and it was only a matter of time before they would land on a label. Gleaning their sound from Muddy Waters, The Allman Brothers Band, Lynyrd Skynyrd, Wet Willie and a swirl of Southern rockers, the boys from Central Kentucky have created their own hard, tight blues-soaked rock sound. Co-produced by the band and David Barrick, and executive produced by Paul Nelson (who also plays guitar on the ZZ Top-ish “Lovin’ Man”), ten of the eleven cuts are Otis originals. The phenomenal Eddie Stone offers Hammond B3 accents on “Shake You,” “Turn To Stone” and “Chasing The Sun,” while the instrumental “Relief In C” with Danny Williams’ mandolin accompaniment hearkens back to the Lennon/McCartney gem, “Norwegian Wood.” Froggett’s gravelly vocals are the ideal complement to the band’s Southern rock leanings. Their one cover on the record, Cowboy Joe Babcock’s “I Washed My Hands In Muddy Waters” (Washed My Hands), famously recorded by Stonewall Jackson, Johnny Rivers, Charlie Rich and Elvis Presley, is reinterpreted by the band to become totally their own with a hard blues/rock edge. Keep an eye on this band because they are the real deal. 

LINK/ink19.com/


Redondo y con Aguejero – Top 10 Albums of the Year

Otro disco de debut, que se cuela entre mis favoritos.
Otis una banda con el mejor de los sonidos, del más clásico Southern-blues-rock de siempre… Toda una exhibición de poderío.  Enorme banda!!
“Another debut album, which is among my favorites.
Otis a band with the best of sounds, the most classic Southern-blues-rock ever … All an exhibition of power. Huge band !!”

get ready to ROCK! “The Best of 2017”

The Best of 2017: top albums, top live acts – the reviewers’ choice

DAVE WILSON Live Editor

Top Albums

Worthy of mention/attention
POPA CHUBBY crossed over with the indie blues album ‘The Catfish’, while Kentucky band OTIS and their southern rock opus, ‘Eyes of The Sun’ on Purple Pyramid refreshed an often clichéd genre.

 

Big thanks to Pete Feenstra with Get Ready To Rock for mentioning our new album as one of the best Top Albums Of 2017!

BluesMagazine: Review – OTIS Eyes of the Sun

Format: CD – Digital / Label: Purple Pyramid – Cleopatra Records
Release Date: September 15, 2017

Text: Jos Verhagen

OTIS brings a follow-up to their debut album ( “Tough Times” ), something that will not forget you soon, with Eyes Of The Sun. Think back to the seventies with greats like The Allman Brothers Band, Lynyrd Skynyrd and Creedence Clearwater Revival. This is the old school Southern Rock, as we hear little more and where OTIS treats us here. It’s not true that the Southern Rock is dead but this is a band that honors the greatness of the past.

The current banners of the Southern Rock like Blackberry Smoke, Drive By Truckers, Tedeschi Trucks Band, which have given the original a different turn. It is therefore nice to hear that there are four young Kentucky guests who remain true to the Southern Rock roots. Those roots with strong singers, driven excited guitar work and improvisation (jammen) until you find the right feel. That does OTIS; Boone Froggett (vocal guitar), Steve Jewell (guitar), John Seeley (bass) and Andrew Gilpin ( drums) here with ‘Eyes Of The Sun’.

The vocal of Boone Froggett who has something, it sounds so familiar to you in the ears that you just keep trying to paste a name. The betrayal are class, its drive. Together with Steve Jewell they bring guitar fireworks that equate the glory of Skynyrd, the Allman Brothers, The Outlaws with ease. Cracked and well placed on the record by producers Greg Martin and Paul Nelson and engineer David Barrick. Bassist John Seeley and drummer Andrew Gilpin carry an important part, especially Andrew Gilpin’s fine drummer deserves a plume.

On ‘Eyes Of The Sun’ they bring a few Southern Rock crackers who will remember me for a while, I can not get enough of this amazing guitar sound. The cd opens with Change and then the single Blind Hawg. They set the trend for the rest of this album. Eyes Of The Sun, the title track and Home have that Skynyrd feel, that works double guitar, the stuning bass, the solo work. While Shake You and Turn To Stone turn you back to The Allman Brothers. Singer Boone Frogget at his best. Whoever plays here at Hammond has not been able to find out, but it contributes to the overall feel of these songs.

With Washed My Hands and Lovin ‘Man they continue to play strong songs full of the guitar work that features this entire CD. After an acoustic trip Relief In C , the best song of this album, Chasing The Sun , follows, this slow blues is a classic with a story, with guitar work to enjoy. The seven-minute shutter Let Your Love Shine Down let’s hear that these young Kentucky dogs deliver a fantastic album here.

I can only hope one thing, who are going to put these guys on stage at a blues festival next year? Find your alternate program in your program, and let the many lovers of a delicious pot of Southern rock be very happy.

Tracklist:
01. Change
02. Blind Hawg
03. Eyes Of The Sun
04. Home
05. Shake You
06. Turn To Stone
07. Washed My Hands
08. Lovin ‘Man
09. Relief In C
10. Chasing The Sun
11. Let Your Love Shine Down

Website: OTIS

Keys and Chords: Review

“Vintage 70’s southern blues rock that sweeps through your body and mind. Intelligent compositions, sharp guitars and organic vocals create Otis’ original sound. One advice: LISTEN!”

-Translated-

OTIS: EYES OF THE SUN
19/10/2017

From the deep south of Kentucky, smoky fumes of blues and rock emit. The four of Otis swears at vintage guitars (including Gibson Les Paul from 1970 or a Gibson LG-2 acoustic from 1940). Even bass guitar and drums belong to the retro age, the seventies. Inspiration and learning school performed on the blues of Muddy Waters, The Allman Brothers. You also hear some British influences (Led Zeppelin, T2), ZZTop and Southern Rock from the neighbors Alabama.

Otis, however, creates his own sound with the guitar virtuoso Boone Froggett and Steve Jewell, and beautiful short bass intervals by John Seeley on his Fender in 1972. Compose that perfectly in a steam bowl with a Jack Daniels for your nose. Too bad organic intros to seduce you in the blues rock of old times. Boone Froggett uses his pure rage in the vocals. My favorites: ‘Turn To Stone’ slowly drives the notenzee and gains more body and feel. All the way back to the roots with ‘Relief In C’: you’ll see the vast cotton fields or the campfire in an instrumental acoustic performance on slide and mandolin.

Live, you can only hear the beloved gentlemen in their natural habitat: Kentucky, Tennessee, .. The forum for bluesrock is rather limited in Europe. But again: the best guitarists come from the south! Waiting to meet you in Europe!

Line up:
Boone Froggett (Vocals, Guitars)
Steve Jewell (Guitars)
John Seely (Bass)
Andrew Gilpin (Drums)
Marino Serdons (4)

Vintage s’70 southern blues rock that sweeps through your body and mind. Intelligent compositions, sharp guitars and organic vocals create Otis’ original sound.

One advice: LISTEN!

Via Nocturna Magazine interview with Steve Jewell of Otis

Starting a career with a homage album is not too common. But that was the case with the Otis, Kentucky band. Regardless of the importance of this debut album, things have changed radically with the new work, Eyes Of The Sun , which has been so well received. We then realized the path traveled by the Southerners and what changes were these, in the words of guitarist Steve Jewell Jr.

-Hello, Steve, how are you? New album on the streets, what’s the feeling in the band?Hey man! We’re all doing well! We could not be happier with this new album! We work hard to do this and we are very excited that everyone can hear it. We are very grateful for all the great reviewsoriginating from all over the world. People are enjoying our new album and we could not be more blessed or grateful!

-Being a young band, can you tell us a bit about your journey so far?Of course! We are four young people from the great state of Kentucky in the southern United States. All four of us grew up in the same area and in small neighboring towns. All four of us at Otis started out and grew up playing music with our parents and family. We grew up listening to countrytraditional, bluegrass , rock classic rock southern, blues , soul , funk , R & B. We all met from our local music scene and eventually it led to us all being at the Otis. We are from the same city as The Kentucky HeadHunters and Black Stone Cherry. Both bands are well established and well known around the world and have even won awards like Grammys. The mark went up a lot in our region! And so far, both bands have been extremely supportive of our career, so we can not even thank them enough.

-What names or movements influenced you most?

All the iconic music recorded by Chess Records in Chicago in the 50s like Muddy Waters, Howlin ‘Wolf and Elmore James. Soul singers of the 50s and 60s, such as Otis Redding, Ray Charles and Aretha Franklin. Music from Europe in the 60s, such as Cream, The Beatles, Free, Fleetwood Mac with Peter Green, Led Zeppelin, Jeff Beck Group and The Who. Of course, the iconic 70s rock bands like The Allman Brothers, Marshall Tucker, Johnny Winter, ZZ Top, Tom Petty, Wet Willie and Charlie Daniels. Above all, Roots music . We are inspired by the honesty, stories and purity that exist in roots music .

-Has anything changed in your way of working from the first record to this?
Yes, drastically. Our first record was blessed because we worked with our friend and mentor Greg Martin of The Kentucky HeadHunters. He had an idea to do a tribute album to a guy named John Brim, a 50s Kentucky Bluesman who also recorded for Chess Records. We wrote our own arrangements for 10 of John Brim’s songs. Greg Martin produced the album with our friend David Barrick, who was also the engineer of the album (David is also the engineer and co-producer of our new album) and our friend Dean Smith. The album also featured Jimmy Hall, by Wet Willie, sometimes vocalist for Jeff Beck, on the harmonica. We wanted to do our best to honor John Brim and his music, so we worked hard on the blues and we heard a lot of music released by Chess Records. We also read a lot like Robert Palmer’s book Deep Blues . We used all the vintage gear to record this album. 40’s Fender amps , old Gibson guitars and amplifiers . We wanted to present an album that was as honest and pure as possible but also with the mentality of a rock and roll bandjoining Chess Records to record an album. This album taught us a lot about music and this made us better composers, better listeners, playing better with each other and opened our eyes to what are the roots of music.

-Billy Gibbons from ZZ Top did a great compliment to your album. How did they feel about your words? Naturally flattered, but also scared or not?
It was such a great feeling and humility. We grew up listening to ZZ Top, while kids learned to play theirs, we have posters of them on the walls of our room. Of course you dream that maybe one day you’ll find your heroes, but they become fans of your band and comment on how they like your music, it’s a dream come true. Billy has been very nice and supported a lot. He is the best!

-The production of Eyes Of The Sun was in charge of another great name that is Paul Nelson. How was the experience of working with him?
It was great! We are big fans of Johnny Winter and Paul is a great musician and played as well as produced some albums of Johnny. An album that Paul produced for Johnny gave him his first Grammy . Paul came in the last half of the record, brought in lots of great ideas and helped put things together. We also have a song on our album titled Lovin ‘Man , where Paul plays.

-Do you already have any extracted videos taken from this album?
We have a music video for our first single , Blind Hawg , which can be found on our website .

-How is the promotion of Eyes Of The Sun in progress ?
Things are great! The contract we signed with Cleopatra Records of Los Angeles, California was great and very supportive. Our entire team has been working hard to push our new album and we are receiving a lot of good reviews and airplay . Things are going very well.

-I know they had and will still have some dates now in October. And then, what have you confirmed?
We have new tour dates to be announced every week! Dates until we finish our tour at the end of 2017. Our team is working to get a tour in 2018. We encourage people to check our dates on our website , come to see us and be part of the Otis family.

-Many thanks, Steve! I give you the opportunity to add whatever you want …
We would like to thank everyone who supported our new album. We can not thank you enough! Many thanks to everyone on Via Nocturna. Be sure to join us on our site and social networks. We like to interact and talk to everyone! We hope to see you all on the road soon!

Album “Eyes of the Sun”: Review by Pete Feenstra

Album review: OTIS – Eyes Of The Sun
Posted on October 4, 2017 by petefeenstra

Purple Pyramid [Release date 15.09.17]

OK. Let’s summarise things at the outset. Otis’ ‘Eyes Of The Sun’ is a stonking album. It rocks hard, has a soulful sensibility with blues coursing through its veins and smokes from beginning to end, like the very best Southern rock albums used to.

Kentucky Southern rockers Otis are championed by executive producer and former Johnny Winter guitarist/manager Paul Nelson, who obviously knows a kick ass band when he hears one.

But, Otis aren’t just any band, for one thing they frequently construct their musical vision on the back of a potent rhythm track. In bassist John Seeley and a lyrical drummer Andrew Gilpin they have a deluxe rhythm section that stokes the fire and acts as a perpetual catalyst to the twin guitar talents of Boone Froggett (who doubles as vocalist) and Steve Jewell.

It’s hard to believe that ‘Eyes Of the Sun’ is only their second album, as the deep grooves, sumptuous tones and insistent rhythms are the stuff of a lifetime on the road.

They’ve already carved their own little piece of history by opening the 2016 Georgia Allman Brothers Band Association Festival. And while the Allman’s feel is a significant undercurrent to their music, it never dominates their material which is as fresh and original as it is intense.

Where Otis really score is that they have the material to match their musical chops. They also have that rare ability to evoke the giants of their genre without becoming dependent on them.

Listen for example to The Allman Brothers influenced ‘Change’, and in particular the Dickey Betts style slide and the uplifting dual guitar break. Then there’s also the stoccatto rhythm of the outstanding ‘Blind Hawg’ which could be Skynyrd.

Early Lynyrd Skynyrd also comes to mind in the percussive feel of ‘Home’, on which they groove and jam before a return to the ‘Coming Home’ refrain, as drummer Gilpin abandons his previous intricate approach for pure Bonham!

Everything coalesces beautifully on the booming title track which effectively sets a marker against which their contemporaries will be judged, because Otis have what it takes in abundance.

Aside from the afore mentioned rhythm tracks, the band re-invigorates a Southern rock genre all too often mired in over familiar clichés and false country tinged sentiment.

There’s absolutely no slack here, as each track jumps out the trap like a rabbit. The arrangements are tight, the riffs are rock hard, and the band’s intensity is such that many of the songs feel like they are at bursting point.

It’s rare for a band to hit so hard, and maintain the energy levels and the dynamics needed to keep the music interesting. Each track is full of contrasting sonic detail and producer David Barrick does a great job in nailing the incendiary solos as part of an imposing wall of sound.

‘Shake You’ is powered by a memorable riff over another killer rhythm track and lashing of big toned sparring. It’s subtly offset by an unexpected layered Hammond from Eddie Stone, as the percussion almost takes the piece into a Latino direction. The band jams joyously with harmony guitars on a track that sounds as if they’ve waited years to play it.

This stand-out track also makes a mockery of the live and studio divide. Generally speaking, the intoxicating mix of hard driving rhythms, effortless harmonies and huge guitars make light of the fact they are an old school band who play without a safety net. The band nails what they doubtlessly do so well on the gig circuit.

And if ‘Shake You’ is an essential slice of smoking Southern rock of the highest order, then the balledic ‘Turn To Stone’ is the closest they get to the late Gregg Allman’s soulful southern rock, albeit Boone Froggett almost has to sing out of his range to nail the piece.

They also boogie hard on ‘Washed My Hands’, and only pause for breath on the suitably titled ‘Relief In C’. The Danny Williams mandolin-led meditative instrumental gives the album a welcome rootsy change of direction.

Then there’s the lovely nuanced drone of ‘Chasing The Sun’ which evokes Neil Young right down to lovely distorted grunge guitar, before they once again light the fuse to grind out the licks and head for the stars.

Otis play hard rocking, organic and honest music. You can take an educated guess at the origin’s of the band’s name, as their music is shot through with deep soul, and played with real passion, intensity and spark. It also means that even the very occasional blip in their focus is barely noticeable.

They finish on the slow building anthem ‘Let Your Love Shine Down’, which shows another different side of the band and is very much an archetypal album closer.

In an era where references to antecedent musical genres are often an excuse for a lack of material, Otis deliver the goods.

Perhaps only the giant musical figure of Warren Haynes has come this close to making Southern rock relevant again.

Go out your way to check out this album, you won’t be disappointed. **** ½

Review by Pete Feenstra

Pete Feenstra presents his Rock & Blues Show on Get Ready to ROCK! Radio every Tuesday at 19:00 GMT, and “The Pete Feenstra Feature” on Sundays at 20:00

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