Forget about Seattle grunge — the new deal is Seattle funk and soul. Three of my favorite ‘new’ bands are from the Emerald City, Delvon Lamarr Organ Trio, Polyrhythmics and The Dip!
The Dip just released their third full length album Sticking With It and it’s a winner. I first got hip to them in summer of 2019 when they played live at Park Tavern in Atlanta. They have an old school soul and funk feel with very catchy lyrics, great horn licks and stellar instrumentalists all around. Top it off with Tom Eddy’s vocals which come through particularly strong on the album and mix with some extra strings and backing vox and it’s a recipe for pure ear candy.
As usual, there’s a mix of rhythm and blues (emphasis on blues) story lines behind each tune which get in and out rather quickly with just enough time to develop the theme and keep it interesting. There’s quite a mix of uptempo songs with ballads and it’s definitely a multi-listenable album especially cool for cruising on spring and summer nights. I’m looking forward to catching them again tomorrow in Atlanta after waiting nearly three years for their oft postponed return.
Here’s my first impression track-by-track rundown.
Paddle To The Stars has a real 60s feel (think CCR) and is a real love opus with an ironic twist in the lyrics of drowning in love, all cloaked in imagery of floating along together forever. Jacob Lundgren has a bluesy, guitar solo at the three-quarter mark and the lyric video is a funk watch and sing along.
Sleep On It has a full blast horn intro before Tom Eddy implores a girl to wait for him to get back to her after his dreams of getting back together. The horns in the head are great and then Levi Gillis takes a nice tenor solo midway and riffs with the other horns in the background and the vocals riding on top.
When You Lose Someone has a simple drum/guitar midtempo opening before the horns join the march. Once Tom hits with the lyrics its a full on lamentation of lost love with a sweet addition of female backing vocals. On the mid stanza there’s some great baritone scoops from Evan Smith which kick the song up. Midway Brennan Carter has a terrific, but short trumpet solo. The refrain of the title from the backing vocals is a great touch.
Anyway is a very downtempo tune with a drum and bass intro. The lead vocals are accompanied by some super smooth background, setting a lamenting tone throughout. The horn punctuation and strings addition give the song production values that are not often heard any longer. The abrupt close out with just the title vocalized is perfect.
Vacation is so retro from start to finish. The background chorus with “oohs and aahs” and repeat of the title is such a throwback almost back to the doo-wop era. Jacob has a very Buddy Holly-like guitar solo. The group is working hard on this “Vacation.”.
Real Contender is a slower ballad and a showcase for Tom on vocals, again with some strong complementary backing vocals. It’s got a catchy lyric like most of The Dip’s tunes, harking back to times when singalong songs were widely prevalent. Certainly the chorus “For once in my life, I’m a sure of something” is memorable and one that sticks in your head.
Crickets may be the funkiest tune on the album with a marked bass line and some slick horn arrangements. This brings to mind The Meters and is a plaintive song about “Crickets” silence when there’s some critical issues happening. Definitely another memorable tune
Eye to Eye is another slow ballad. I really dig the mix of lead and background vocals expressing the need to agree on feelings. The plucky guitar accents each phrase and Tom nails the tone and each breathe is well placed. The refrain of the title would be right at home in a Pointer Sisters tune as well.
Apollonia has a retro feel and is another one with a great baritone thru line. The mid lyric recitation of the tile is a great affect. The bridge with drums, tambourine and horns take a little trippy turn before coming back to the head for the closeout.
Yellowfinger‘s opening is lead by horns and strings, again very strong production values. It’s actually the only instrumental on the album serving as a showcase for the horns in the lead and the talents of each player. Levi has an excellent tenor solo toward the end that carries right to the close.
Forget About It is the jazziest tune on the album with some heaviest bass line and a big band horn line. This is an excellent arrangement, as is the rest of the album with perfect spacing of each instrument. Jarred Katz has a standout drum solo midway and then Mark Hunter brings some deep low end bass licks. The full band singing on the ride out makes this sound distinctive from every other tune on the album.
Tom Eddy (vocals, guitar)
Jarred Katz (drums)
Brennan Carter (trumpet)
Levi Gillis (tenor sax)
Mark Hunter (bass)
Jacob Lundgren (guitar)
Evan Smith (baritone sax)
Strings – F.A.M.E.’S. Studio Orchestra (Macedonia)
Background vocals – Vanessa Bryan, Dasha Chadwick and Nic Jackson.