CD Review: Winslow “Left of the Right Direction”

Back in 2008, the Cleveland-based band Winslow released a 10-song album called Crazy Kind of Love. It was that album that helped put the band on the map, musically-speaking. It also helped to add a little bit of new blood into the genre of Soul. The release featured the Cleveland band’s musical mix of soul, funk and rock and roll and gave people something fresh and exciting to listen to.

In the years that have followed since the release of that solid album, Winslow has gone through some changes. In fact, only singer-songwriter Maurice Martin, sax player Matt Tieman and keyboard player Curtis Tate still remain from the band that created that 2008 release. Today’s version includes guitarist Charlie Trenta, bassist Danny Kolliner and Jesse Marquardt on drums. And while the line-up of the band has changed, the power and talent seems to have been unaffected. In fact, they seem to have added a little more rock feeling to their music in this version of the band while still keeping the overall same groove that made their music so much fun to listen to. And with Maurice Martin still being the frontman of the band, Winslow’s sound is still as distinct and identifiable as ever. The current version of Winslow is celebrating the release of their new album entitled Left of the Right Direction.

The Left of the Right Direction album from Winslow begins with a very strong track entitled “Ain’t That a Shame”. The track contains a very rockin’ guitar feel from Charlie Trenta that helps create a solid foundation that the rest of the players seem to build upon. The first track of the album is as good as anything the band put out on their debut release, proving that the line-up shift has done nothing to affect the band’s music.

The second song of the album, “Alone Tonight,” is another instance that proves that not much has been affected with the slightly different makeup of Winslow. In fact, “Alone Tonight” actually feels as if the band intended on putting the song on the Crazy Kind of Love release but never actually got around to doing it.

With the next track of Left of the Right Direction, Winslow turns the volume down a little; the “easy” pace of “Nothing’s Easy” gives the album a nice balance to the energetic music that came before. And unlike the first two tracks of the album, the song is built around only the guitar, bass, keyboards and drums. Matt Tieman’s saxophone does come in near the end of the track as he plays a very soulful solo that would make Clarence Clemons proud. The band has even released the song as the first single off the album.

It’s the song “Quarter-Life” that Winslow actually creates a song that has a typical “soul” feel. The track blends the soulful feel of the band’s music with just a little touch of jazz in the form of Tieman’s saxophone to add some texture to the “title track” of the release. The track also shows off singer Maurice Martin’s vocal ability as his voice lends itself as easily to Jazz music as it does to Soul.

As a very unusual change of pace, the song “Stand Up” finds Winslow dropping all Soul-like influence as the members take an all-out Rock sound to a song that sounds as much like an anthem as it does a plain old fun jam. The band’s sound is just as hard as any band that spends its entire time creating rock songs. This track ultimately shows off the talent and ability of each member of the band as musicians.

Another strong track on the new album from Winslow is “Last Goodbye”. Like the song “Quarter-Life” before it, the band blends Jazz and Soul together to create a song about facing the end.  While the song features some bleak lyrics, the music of the song is as strong as anything that came before on the album. With this track, the band takes the time to create an extended jam. The song features some very strong playing from guitarist Charlie Trenta and a very smokin’ solo from sax player Matt Tieman, as well.

You only have to take a listen to the second album from Cleveland’s soul outfit of Winslow to find out what the entire buzz is about. Very few bands can release two albums in a row that are solid, but Winslow has done it. Left of the Right Direction, the follow-up release to the band’s 2008 album Crazy Kind of Love, picks up where the previous album left off. The current version of the band has the same feel as the 2008 version and this new version seems to have the future in their sights. Here’s to success.

Winslow will be celebrating the release of Left of the Right Direction in the month of March. The new album will be released on Cleveland-based Little Fish Records. Until then, you can check out the band's music on their ReverbNation page.

To discover some of the music that is included on Winslow's new album, check out the video to the song "Quarter-Life"

Click HERE for my previous article on the band Winslow.