Rich Lerner and The Groove show off strong guitar skills on ‘Jammin with Juma’
The North Carolina-based Rich Lerner and The Groove show off their musical talents in an honest way on their new album “Jammin’ with Juma.” It’s a no-nonsense blues/rock record that will have you yearning for one more guitar riff or one more extended electric solo that seems to end sooner than you’d like.
It’s a record that doesn’t hide from its faults, but, the strengths far outweigh them, so you end up not being bothered by the less-than stellar parts, which you have to listen carefully to notice, anyhow.
You could also make the case that these guys know what people are likely to find interesting about them and focuses their musical efforts on those aspects over all else. It’s an effective approach, if that’s indeed what they’ve chosen to do. Or, what’s more likely, is that they simply don’t care if people think they’re not perfect.
So, what are their pros and their cons? Pros: Their incredible guitars, track variety and pulsating drums. The Cons? The vocals aren’t horrible, but, they won’t wow you, either. Several of the songs I found myself enjoying them in spite of the vocals, not because of them.
What they lack in vocal prowess, however, they make up for in musical strength. The album proves that right from the start on “Be Here Now” and into “Ghosts of Jimi,” which wears its inspiration on its sleeve. Its a song that Mr. Hendrix would be proud of, without a doubt.
They also include a spicy cover of Eric Burdon & War’s “Spill the Wine” that stays faithful to the original. It’s the classic earworm of a song that you’ll be humming to yourself long after hearing it and is a welcome addition on “Jammin’ with Juma.”
While it’s clear hearing them that they’ve cut their teeth performing covers over the years, their original tracks bring a healthy heaping of their own personality with them, which isn’t always the case with bands of their ilk. It shows their musical abilities in that they’re able to do both well, in fact.
So in the end, while they might seem like the type of band you hear every summer at the Farmer’s Market, they’re more than that. They’ve got the musical skills and have a solid collection of original tracks that will make you rethink that classification.