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

ORIGINAL ARTICLE

ScruffingtonPost.com: Review excerpt

Now Playing: OTIS Heavy Blues in the Mighty Mighty Preservation Pub

Rumbling out of the heart of rural Kentucky like some raw-boned hillbilly with a bad attitude and a head full of sour mash whiskey, Glasgow’s Otis raise an awfully big ruckus for a group of four small-town boys. Founded about five years ago, the band made their boisterous introductions in 2014 with “Tough Times: A Tribute to John Brim,” a 10-song homage to a Kentucky bluesman who made his name in mid-century Chicago.

Guitarist Steve Jewell tells that he and his fellow band members had known each other most of their lives when they started Otis, and bonded over their shared affinity for Chess Records and classic blues rock, Cream – Band and Led Zeppelin and the The Jimi Hendrix Experience.

The recording of “Tough Times,” however, was key to creating what would become Otis’ trademark heavy-Southern sound. “Some really great people helped us on that record, and it inspired us,” Jewell says. “It made us dig, and study, looking at different tunings, different picking styles, different ways of singing. And it had a lot of effect on our songwriting.

“As musicians, we’re all very curious about the roots of the music we listen to. If we hear Joe Perry say he listens to Johnny Winter, then we go check out Johnny Winter. And then Johnny Winter says he likes Slim Harpo, and we’ll keep going back and back. We’re always looking at where this record was made, or who the musicians were on that session, or who the producer was for that release. We try to be like sponges, soaking up as much information about the music as we can.”

The result is that Otis makes music that’s at once familiar, yet hard to pin down — pummeling and inexorable, possessed of the primal essence of bluesmen like Howlin’ Wolf and Robert Johnson, the whole of it leavened by southern rock and the sounds of rural Kentucky, bluegrass and honky-tonk and old-time mountain music.

“Growing up around here, we heard a steady diet of bluegrass and folk and country music,” Jewell says. “What we try to do is distill whatever it is that makes great music what it is — the honesty, the storytelling, the raw emotion. You can listen to Howlin’ Wolf and Bill Monroe, and you can hear some kind of common thread there, the honesty of it. That’s what we’re looking for.

“It’s always interesting for us to read reviews from people who listen to the band. Some people hear the Southern elements, others say we sound like Clutch, and other say Johnny Winters or the Allman Brothers Band or Lynyrd Skynyrd. But whatever it is they hear, it always goes back to something in our roots in the blues or Southern rock ‘n’ roll.”

The band is touring now on the strength of their freshly-pressed sophomore release “Eyes of the Sun,” an 11-song album that showcases all the lessons learned over the course of the “Tough Times” sessions, plus five years of touring and performing as a unit. Having already garnered a shout-out from no less a blues-rock luminary than ZZ Top frontman Billy Gibbons, “Eyes” hits home with all the barreling locomotive impact of its predecessor, only with deeper grooves, and sharper, more delineated hooks.

But Jewell warns that the trajectory of the band’s evolution is still on a sharp upward climb. “We’re planning to be around for a little while,” he says. “Hopefully, we can spread some kind of positivity. And maybe somewhere along the way we’d like to write something that people will remember for a long time to come.”

OTIS will play Preservation Pub Saturday, Oct. 7 at 10 p.m.

BABYSUE: Review

Otis – Eyes of the Sun (CD, Cleopatra, Blues/rock)

Blues rock. Folks either love it or hate it. Along with Southern rock, the genre seemed to reach an all-time peak in the 1970s. But there will always be bands keeping the music alive because this is the kinda stuff that fans want. Kentucky’s Otis is one of the more authentic sounding blues rock bands we’ve heard of late. Unlike some wannabes, the guys in Otis can really play. On Eyes of the Sun you’ll hear solid rhythms, appropriately raspy vocals, and plenty of absolutely superb guitars. The band is comprised of Boone Froggett (vocals, guitar), Steve Jewell (guitar), John Seeley (bass), and Andrew Gilpin (drums). This band would already have a solid and devoted fan base…but having the endorsement of ZZ Top guitarist Billy F. Gibbons sure doesn’t hurt. Gripping rockers here include “Change,” “Shake You,” “Lovin’ Man,” and “Let Your Love Shine Down.”

Exclusive Magazine: Review by Anne Carlini

Title – ‘Eyes of the Sun’
Artist – Otis
For those not in the know, deep in South Central Kentucky authentic music is alive and well through native musicians who are still testifying to brothers and sisters all around the world.

Otis has taken in a steady diet of Roots, Blues, and Classic Rock and Roll, and created their own unique sound. Otis draws from the raw electric sounds of Muddy Waters and stirs in a heavy influence of Southern sounds, courtesy of The Allman Brothers Band, Wet Willie, and more.

This sums up what the sound of Otis is musically and gives a glimpse into the sound and soul of the four-piece band.

The members of Otis consist of Boone Froggett vocals/guitar, Steve Jewell guitar, John Seeley bass, and Andrew Gilpin drums. The members of Otis share the same vision of writing and creating organic music while taking their audience to church by hitting on all emotions.

And now the Southern Blues Rockers Otis are about to release their sophomore album, Eyes Of The Sun this September 15th, 2017 via Purple Pyramid Records / Cleopatra Records. Executive produced by Paul Nelson, it already has ZZ Top’s Billy Gibbons commenting “Stunning” as his reaction to listening to it!

  1. ‘Change’
  2. ‘Blind Hawg’
  3. ‘Eyes Of The Sun’
  4. ‘Home’
  5. ‘Shake You’
  6. ‘Turn To Stone’
  7. ‘Washed My Hands’
  8. ‘Lovin’ Man’
  9. ‘Relief In C’
  10. ‘Chasing The Sun’
  11. ‘Let Your Love Shine Down’

They kick things off with the heavy-hittin’ ‘Change’ and back that up smoothly with both ‘Blind Hawg’ and the title twangin’ track ‘Eyes Of The Sun’. With obvious nods toward Lynyrd Skynyrd abounding, they polish that particular label in fine style with ‘Home’ and then back it with one of my own personal favorites, the guitar fest ‘Shake You’.

The ballad ‘Turn To Stone’ is next and that’s followed by the mid-tempo, searing guitar work of ‘Washed My Hands’. The tempo is back up to max for ‘Lovin’ Man’, which in turn is followed by a deceptively beautiful ‘Relief In C.’ Acoustic guitar twangin’ with notes all kept within the C range, of course, it is another stand out highlight of this fantastic new album.

The album then rounds out with the slow poke ‘Chasing The Sun’ and then the storytelling journey within ‘Let Your Love Shine Down’. A cross between a Gospel track and a backwoods BBQ sing-along, the track is just perfect to end an album that should give these guys everything they deserve on the Billboard Album’s Chart.

Review by Anne Carlini

Otis – ‘Eyes Of The Sun’ CD Purchase Link

 

www.TheOtisBand.com

www.CleopatraRecords

Otis @ Facebook

Interview: Simon Barrett Blog Talk Radio

The Week In Reviews – OTIS – Broadcast in Music last Thursday

BLOG LINK – LISTEN HERE

From the American South, Kentucky, comes a new group of southern blues rock champions, OTIS, who will be releasing their highly anticipated second album on Purple Pyramid Records on September 15th. Executive Produced by Grammy winning Blues/Rock guitar great Paul Nelson, who is best known for his work with the late Johnny Winter, OTIS’s “Eyes Of The Sun” takes blues rock to a higher level!

“If ever there were a band to fill the new top spot in the Jam Blues Rock scene and the void left by loss of groups like the Allman Brothers… ‘OTIS’ is it. This tight unit of talent from the back woods Kentucky has everything it takes to become one of music’s next great classic Blues Rock Bands!”- Paul Nelson

The band has earned accolades from ZZ Top guitarist Billy F. Gibbons who hailed the band’s “fine singing, sweet guitar tones…all around enjoyable listening!”

Simon Barrett

JP’s Music Blog: Review by James Pasinski

CD Review: UFO Return With “The Salentino Cuts” & OTIS Aims For “The Sun”

Classic rock band UFO currently have one of their most steady line-ups of their entire 48 year career, having been together now for almost ten years. To celebrate that achievement, the band decided to record some of their favorite c0ver songs for their first every full covers album. The new release titled “The Salentino Cuts” will be released on September 29th on CD and limited edition vinyl.

The new 12-song album begins with the classic sixties sounding “Heartful Of Soul,” originally by The Yeardbirds. The band continues with an energized, punk-like version of The Doors’ “Break On Through (To The Other Side),” before trying their hand at an odd cover for UFO, Mad Season’s “River Of Deceit.” The music is almost identical to the original, while lead singer Phil Mogg’s vocals gives the song a bluesy vibe. UFO sound renewed during John Mellencamp’s “Paper In Fire,” while guitarist Vinnie Moore takes over the lead with his solos on Montrose’s “Rock Candy” and Robin Trower’s “Too Rolling Stoned.” They wrap up their new album with a return to the sixties with a hard rocking version of The Animals “It’s My Life.” UFO are currently on tour, just recently returning to the states for two months of shows. To find out more about their new album “The Salentino Cuts,” please visit the band’s Facbook page at facebook.com/UFOofficial.

 

 

If the loss of the Allman Brothers Band have left a hole in your blues heart, then I have the perfect remedy, shot of OTIS! This south Kentucky band recently released their sophomore album, “Eyes Of The Sun” and have been hailed by legendary blues guitarist Billy Gibbons (ZZ Top). Their new 11-song release begins with “Change,” which will bring up memories of Duane Allman’s sweet slide guitar work as the band motors through this high-powered rock gem. The album continues with the big blues guitar sound of “Eyes Of The Sun” as lead singer Boone Froggett belts out the vocals with shear force. OTIS also showcase their ZZ Top influence on the guitar-boogie shuffle of “Home,” before the back-to-back six minute jams of “Shake You” and “Turn To Stone.” They finish up their new album with the swampy acoustic blues instrumental “Relief In C” and the 7-minute, gospel-like blues of “Let Your Love Shine Down.” To find out more about OTIS and their latest release “Eyes Of The Sun,” please visit theotisband.com.

 

 

Saturday, September 23, 2017 JP’s Music Blog

Kentuckiana Blues Society: Review by Natalie Carter

It’s a bit daunting, reviewing a piece by blues/rock music that’s already been touted by none other than Billy F. Gibbons, who hailed the band’s “fine singing, sweet guitar notes…all around enjoyable listening!” “Eyes of the Sun” was executive-produced by Grammy winning guitar great Paul Nelson, best known for his work with the late Johnny Winter, and the band has been mentored by blues/rock legend, Headhunter Greg Martin.

The promotional material refers to it as “southern blues rock”, and that’s definitely the bedrock. I’ve read comparisons to the jam-band styles of The Allman Brothers and Wet Willie, but this album is also drenched in vintage rock sounds that stir up essences of Robin Trower, Grand Funk Railroad, Steppenwolf…I get a whiff of something new/old/tasty every time I listen. Compelling vocals, ringing slide guitar on a foundation of Chicago electric blues…”Eyes of the Sun” has all of this and then some.

The first cut, “Change” highlights the essential southern rock slide guitar and features some nice backup vocals. The second cut, “Blind Hawg”, which is the first single from the album, is garage rock to perfection. Every good Kentuckian knows that “a blind hawg finds an acorn every now and then”. If not strictly a blues song, that’s a blues phrase if ever I’ve heard one.

Each song on this album is unique and the set is absolutely cohesive. Other standouts are “Shake You” and “Lovin’ Man”, and “Relief in C” brings some lovely things that are rather unexpected and drops them in the perfect spot in the arrangement.

The album is distributed by Cleopatra Records and is available on iTunes and Amazon.

Natalie Carter
Kentuckiana Blues Society

Midwest Records: Review – Otis/Eyes of the Sun

Midwest Record – OTIS/Eyes of the Sun: If it wasn’t for the jam band ethos, the sound of Macon might have become just another trend lost in the fashion bin of time, but this set echoes the Allman’s, Marshall Tucker and Cowboy without a drop of manqueing around. Adding roots and other modern moves to the classic mix, this is a road warrior gateway about to swing wide open. Cock your ears in this direction to hear the blues rock roots etc sound the rolling down the pike to tomorrow right now. Hot.

PURPLE PYRAMID