Thursday, December 15, 2016

Canadian blues-roots band Hidden Stash new album release "Mixed Cassette Tape"

Hidden Stash is a new 6-piece roots band offering up rock, pop, blues, soul, C&W and folk with a retro twist. Their debut album Mixed Cassette Tape is a 70’s inspired rock album that takes listeners back in time when people used to listen to albums from start to finish.

The band's songwriter and lead vocalist, Michael Gray, has some family connections that are of major interest. Being the son of Jerry Gray, the legendary folk musician who was a founding member of The Travellers and the brother of James Gray who served more than 13 years in Blue Rodeo, Gray grew up surrounded by music.  The band name Hidden Stash comes from the idea that he has kept this hidden stash of songs that he wrote for years and is now ready to reveal them to the world.

Mixed Cassette Tape is expertly co-produced and arranged by Derek Downham (The Beauties), and features Divine Brown, Damhnait Doyle, Shelley Coopersmith, Denis Keldie, Jim Bish, Russ Boswell and a sizzling duet with rising roots n’ roll singer Samantha Martin.

A stand out track “Chasing Sunsets” features Juno award winning vocalist Divine Brown with a personal story about finding yourself and chasing your dreams. “Wasted” is about an executive who’s on the road chasing his next fix.  “I had written it with a Little Feat kind of vibe,” says Gray, “then Derek created this really great acoustic slide riff at the top, and turned it into a funky New Orleans tune.” “Are You With Me?” has special meaning to Gray as it was his wedding song that he had written for his wife.  The talented Samantha Martin joins him for a powerful duet.

The song of most importance to Gray is “Sweet Brother James” the ballad he had written a day or two after his brother had passed away in 2013.  “Usually, the lyrics process takes me a long time, but the song flowed out of me in less than an hour,” he says, “it was the best way I could show my appreciation for my brother.”

Marty's review: "Mixed Cassette Tape" is aptly titled, with 11 original tracks that are roots based with influences of blues, pop, country and even a touch of funky jazz. Michael Gray's exceptional and personal songwriting skills are at the forefront and will make you listen just that little closer. The talented group of musicians that he is surrounded by give us their expertise on dobro, violin, accordion, cello, saxophones, banjo and flute, all supported by harmonised background vocals. Favourite track for me is the bluesy "Wasted".

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