Canadian recording artist Harmony & Groove releases a debut album of R&B / Pop and blue-eyed soul brimming with sweaty funk grooves, glistening pop hooks and soulful harmonies!
It was a cold winter's night in 2009 when Canadian singer/songwriter Jeffrey Carl decided to dig through an old box of cassettes containing songs he had written over a period of many years. Although he had settled into a career far removed from music, the songs he rediscovered awakened his dormant creativity. With renewed drive and determination, he wrote and recorded a masterful debut album over the next 2 1/2 years. Working under the name Harmony & Groove, the brilliant result, Bringing Down The Mercury, brims with sweaty funk grooves, glistening pop hooks, soulful harmonies, and witty wordplay.
Bringing Down The Mercury is a culmination of a lifelong journey of discovering and developing an aesthetic. It's the "artist's way" channeled into music. "I grew up in the smallest of Canada's provinces, an island in fact, but for some reason, local radio there was totally connected to the latest sounds coming out of the US and the UK. Despite the popular music I followed in the 80's and 90's, I felt compelled to return to the soul, funk and R&B I had heard on the radio as a kid." Jeffrey Carl reveals.
Back in the day, soul and groove monsters like Earth, Wind, & Fire, The Temptations, Parliament, Sly & The Family Stone, and The Commodores were Top 40. From there Jeffrey Carl kept on exploring pop, but found the music that followed those heady times less enduring. With his debut album, he has circled back to the music that first moved him, but freshens the vibe with influences from contemporary artists like Jamiroquai, Maroon 5, Bruno Mars, Adele and Lenny Kravitz.
Jeffrey Carl's insightful wit is perfectly captured in "App For That", a straight up parody of the now ubiquitous phrase, "there's an app for that". With lines like "lost your wife and job and dog and really need a break, there's an app for that, there's an app for that", he pokes fun at the notion that an "app" is all you need to solve all your problems.
The title track recalls the street level, state-of-the-union, urban angst of classic tracks by The Temptations like "War" and "Ball of Confusion". Jeffrey Carl masterfully layers smooth harmonies with funky grooves, punctuated with acoustic guitar and a driving piano motif. His talent for tight arrangement and counter-melody is evident. The vocal harmonies are nothing less than glistening, chrome and memorable.
The swanky standout, "On the Fly Melody" is a luxuriously soulful, old school funk number, adorned with plush strings and punchy horns. "That song was written literally 'on the fly', in about 30 minutes", Jeffrey recalls. "That's the great thing about music. It can be completely spontaneous, and when you're a songwriter, those spontaneous ideas become great songs."
The simmering "Miss You Blues" epitomizes the album's pensive side. It's a deeply personal song about marriage and maintaining love and tenderness within the blur of everyday life. "All couples go through a time when they struggle to live well together and understand themselves intimately, accept each other's faults, and celebrate each other's strengths" Jeffery explains. The track is elegantly adorned with a
soaring gospel bridge that lends hope to a weighty topic.
Jeffrey began recording Bringing Down The Mercury in 2010 with producer and musician Norm Glaude, a veteran of the Ottawa jazz scene. The album's production approach is innovative, by blending the organic flow of live instrumentation with virtual instruments. There is a skillful interplay between the warmth of classic funk and soul, and the sleekness of contemporary pop and R&B. "Norm is a jazz producer, so he brought a live, organic sound to the production. Because of his background, he was able to listen to my initial arrangements and suggest subtle changes that really made a difference to the overall impact of the songs. We wanted to stretch the expressiveness of virtual instruments as far as we could. I think we nailed it!" Jeffrey
Up next for Jeffery Carl is taking the songs live. Stay tuned for the velvety funk-pop and blue-eyed soul of Harmony & Groove at a nightclub near you.