Year in Review
by Michelle Wilson
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.