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 Tony Pica - Schism & Blues

Tony Pica - Schism & Blues Tony Pica is not such a rare breed anymore, more musicians that are independent are putting out albums on their own without any label support and playing all the instruments on the recording. Even though I am finding this to be more common, I still find it amazing and have a lot respect for anyone that does it successfully. In my estimation, Pica has a good handle on being Mr. Multitask.

Schism & Blues, a play on the words rhythm and blues, is comprised of 16 tracks of straight-ahead blues-rock. In the first song, “What Goes Up” Pica sounds like a mellower Hendrix, in fact throughout the album the great one’s vocal style and in some instances certain riffs; end up echoing Jimi’s sound.

This CD is primarily blues based rock but there are bits and pieces of R & B, soul, and funk thrown in to keep things interesting. One of the more eclectic and lyrically humorous tracks is “Whole Lotta Kalamazoo,” which serves as a good example of what Pica is capable of doing in regards to combining several styles into one composition. The title track is interesting as well, it starts of with some jazz licks then he brings in the blues and adds some smoky keyboards that sound faintly like a Hammond B3, just enough to make you wish someone like Jimmy Smith was pumping away full blast to flesh out the song more.

This is a solid recording. However, there is one area in particular that needs some work. Pica’s level of intensity and emotion in the vocal department could use some oomph. I like his voice, and he has a nice sense of rhythm, however his vocalizations do not seem to match the level of energy coming from the instruments, although I do realize his tone for this style of music is appropriate in many instances. He has a mellow approach that maintains the same inflection throughout every song, he compliments the music he produces, but it’s missing some from-the-gut-emotion and sweat that I am so accustomed to hearing with the blues, particularly when he tears into a piercing guitar solo.

I decided on the second listen to focus more on the music and realized that what Pica comes up with is some darn good stuff that offers a listener consistency and variety, and I cannot say that about everything I hear. I am on your side Tony. You have a good voice and you obviously know how to play a multitude of instruments while making them an asset in all of your songs. You really have something worth exploring and developing. Next time out if you play blues influenced rock just give up some of that all out emotion that typifies the blues, and I think the final product will be more exciting and compelling.

01. What Goes Up (4:10)
02. Brothers (4:30)
03. Make Me Blue (3:56)
04. Just Get What You've Paid For (4:03)
05. I Know You Brought It (3:42)
06. It's Easy (4:13)
07. Whole Lotta Kalamazoo (4:07)
08. Schism and Blues (3:36)
09. Old Swamp Road (live) (4:33)
10. It's All In Funk (4:59)
11. Full Time Job (4:44)
12. Wonderful Night To Be Alone (3:40)
13. Good Day Gone Bad (3:48)
14. No Stranger To The Night (3:33)
15. Come And Get Some (3:07)
16. What You See Is What You Get (3:40)

© Keith "MuzikMan" Hannaleck
Posted By: Keith Hannaleck
Genre: Blues-Rock
Record Label: Independent

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