Junkman Radio Interviews Mitch Perry + MPG’s Music Box Reviewed

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With such an auspicious beginning, it’s difficult to say how 2020 will end up. One thing for sure is that a lot of music is being made — some of it meant to keep an artist’s name in the public eye, some of it a little more promising. There are several projects that have been in the wings, ready for consumption, waiting until the timing is just right to share it with the world. Who knows, it seems with Music Box, the Mitch Perry Group’s nine-track collection dripping over with superlative musicality and production, timing may just be everything.

Mitch Perry is a veteran guitarist who has honed his chops with people like Graham Nash, Michael Schenker, Edgar Winter, Lita Ford, and Cher. His adrenaline for speed (Perry’s an auto-racing enthusiast), licks to spare, associations with other like-minded musicians, and weekly jam sessions led to the formation of a group of his own, built on the notion of seeing the guitarist’s open-ended vision come to fruition. He has three distinct singers — Keith England, Shelly Bonet and Kara Turner — on board to codify the mix for maximum effect. Keyboardist Ed Roth, drummer Tal Bergman, and bassist Dan McNay all round out the group’s refined musicianship. Together, the seven-piece lineup delivers an uncompromising slice of classic-styled rock, embellished with a slathering of soulful blues and Southern-flavored spices to make it all go down that much easier.

~Junkman Radio Interviews Mitch Perry~

Instead of standing front and center, tipping the scales with a wild juggernaut of flashy fretted handiwork while his accomplices stand idly by, Perry is going for a total unified sound. “Saint Valentine” is a tidy beginning, setting the pace with everyone locked in, Roth’s piano softening the corners, and England pushing the melody to coagulate off his range. “Believe,” the album’s heavy mid-tempo opus, radiates with such a positive, uplifting temperament, especially during these troubling times, that a video to underscore the situation, as well as to reaffirm the group’s solidarity, is currently trending in media corners around the globe. Even without its judicious message, it’s a song that merits attention for its execution and performance, powerfully passionate in its hope and plea to reassure the listener that when we round this corner (and any other),”everything’s gonna be alright…”

Indeed it is as the album progresses. “In the Morning” shines a light on how the three singers effectively interact and blend, though they each take the lead on other tracks like “Soul Stare” and “The Pain.” A rapturous take of the Rolling Stones “Jumpin’ Jack Flash” taps into a deep-rooted groove that transcends any misgivings about the song’s lack of potential beyond the bar band setlist. Leave it to the “Pack It Up/Remember Me” medley to sum up everything to love about the Mitch Perry Group as each player takes a turn at bat. “Wasted Time” and “I Still Miss You,” which you could call the album’s obligatory ballads, spotlight yet another side of the MGP’s versatility and compelling chemistry.

There’s so much more to Music Box than its arrival at a period in history when radical change is imminent. It’s a reminder of how conviction and creativity tend to rise above difficult circumstances. More to the point, it’s a stern lesson in perseverance and survival. History shows us how some of the greatest music has emerged when affairs are at their most volatile. Without the ravages of the road and an audience squirming in nostalgia, here is a fresh, diverse, and infectious serving, defiant of easy categorization, from the Mitch Perry Group — ripe for the taking with all the essentials when we need it the most.

~ Shawn Perry


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