Professor Louie

Flyin' High

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Professor "Louie" and the Crowmatix are a group of veteran musicians based out of Woodstock, NY, and their second album, Flyin' High, certainly speaks clearly of the influence of hometown heroes the Band -- the album features tunes written by Levon Helm and Rick Danko. Garth Hudson plays keyboards on seven cuts, and frequent Band sideman Larry Packer adds violin to a cover of "Jack-A-Roe." Professor "Louie" (aka Aaron Hurwitz) at least comes by his Band influence honestly, as he helped produce and engineer the group's three post-Robbie Robertson efforts in the 1990s, and there's no arguing that he's put together a band who have the chops to do justice to the Band's expansive roots rock style. However, the point of the Band was never chops so much as great songs performed with heart and soul, and this is where the Crowmatix fall short of the mark; "Don't Wait," written by Levon Helm, is easily the most interesting tune here (and Hurwitz sings it with very Levon-like drawl), while the bulk of the material written by various Crowmatix is expert but hollow, pleasant tunes well played but nothing that's likely to register in your memory. Flyin' High sounds like a great demo for a top-notch backing band that's in need of a songwriter and lead singer who can inject some much needed fire and personality into the formula; perhaps their neighbors Marshall Crenshaw or Graham Parker might be able to do something memorable with them.

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