LARRY / Larry Among Friends

Among Friends

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This is a perfect disc to listen to when you find yourself feeling very happy. And if you're not happy, it'll get you there. Larry's first release on "the jam band label," Lauan Records, was recorded live at Antone's in Austin and at the Fox Theatre and Trilogy Wine Bar in Boulder, CO. Like any good live jam band record, Among Friends contains some very lengthy tunes -- four over nine minutes long -- and weaves its way through a variety of styles, taking in funk, blues, jazz, Latin, country, and unique combinations of several different styles. Half the fun of listening to Larry is not knowing what's around the corner -- a change in pace, a rhythm shift, a key change, a smackin' drum solo, etc. For example, the funky opener "Sticky G" pauses for just a heartbeat and then segues into a few passages from Waylon Jennings' "Theme From the Dukes of Hazzard (Good Ol' Boys)" -- apropos since both Larry and Jennings are from Texas. "The Gift" incorporates a "Hava Nagila" tease near the end of the tune. "Confusion Pie" begins as a Texas-style country boogie, complete with the obligatory "Yeehaw!," and evolves into a guitar jam that takes off into never-never land. Singer Jeff Bradbury has shades of Dave Matthews in his vocals, particularly in some of the phrasing. Comparisons to the Big Wu's overall sound can be made as well, but what really sets this group apart from the rest of the jam bands is that Larry boasts a harp player: Rick Cannon has an attack that approaches John Popper's style, blasting upper-register notes in rapid succession and always keeping a bluesy flavor brewing in Larry's musical potpourri. Among Friends is lively, brisk, delightfully frantic at times, and often playful. This is the happy stuff.

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