I often am surprised by how uplifting a genre called The Blues can be. Historically though, Blues and related genres have provided people with not only an outlet for some incredibly sad and damaging experiences, a catharsis, but also a sense of survivability. Life can get us down, like real down, but the Blues singer knows there will always be a little glimmer somewhere, a reason for a cheeky smile, or a knowing moment of having been through it, and gotten through nonetheless.
Generally speaking, you expect this type of attitude from someone with a wealth of low-down grand scale life experience. As such it can be surprising when you encounter a virtuoso like Marcus Trummer, who, despite being on the young side in years, very clearly has an old soul, and is packed full of the type of talent you might expect a lifetime to garner. Now, I am not saying that there is not room for progression. In fact, you will notice a difference in the Marcus Trummer Band’s newly released EP, “These Roads”, in comparison to earlier single releases. This could have partly to do with acclimatizing to the recording process.
I had a chance to chat with Trummer during a recent photo shoot and one of the things he mentioned was the difference the band felt in playing in studio versus live. For a young band who has already cut their teeth playing festivals like East Town Get Down and the Calgary International Blues Festival, live performance is a comfort zone in comparison. I for one have been waiting for this release though. Nothing can compare to seeing this band live, but sometimes you need to hear the music from home, work, your car stereo, and more. I first encountered Trummer during the youth jam at The Blues Can, back when it was hosted by The Static Shift, and had to inquire about him because I knew right away that this was someone special. And now, seeing the accomplishments of the Marcus Trummer Band in just a few short years, I am not one bit surprised.
Inspired by not only the Blues, though personally I hear that as the heart of Trummer’s compositions, Roots, Rock and Roll, and Alternative influences can be felt in the band's music. The first two tracks of the EP, “Keep On” and “Waiting for the Storm to Pass” were released as singles, leading up to the full EP release. I think part of the success of these as heartening songs comes from the fact that some hard realities, or “truths”, are actually acknowledged prior to the message to “keep on moving slowly, keep on moving on”, or that the storm will indeed pass. Not only is there a light included in the lyrics, but validation and sensitivity as well. The keyboards and rhythm in “Waiting for the Storm to Pass” certainly do not hurt either. Probably the grooviest of the four songs included in the EP, it also incorporates some of that fantastic attitude that I may have referenced above (imagine that cheeky Blues smile).
The last two songs on the EP, being revelations as completely new tracks to the streaming world, are delightfully slow and exceptionally deep. Trummer leaves space for his natural, improvisational in feel, guitar playing to flex in both. “Good and the Bad”, combines prominent harmonies with Trummer's signature wise life advice for navigating the legitimately difficult world we are living in. You may want to apply a lot of things that have occurred in 2020 here, however, having been recorded prior to the pandemic, and also being exceedingly transcendent of timeframe, I feel the lyrics here are applicable on a much grander scale. “Fade Away”, the final track…now let’s just be frank, this song broke my heart today. This is a song you can absolutely get lost in. When Trummer sings, “close your eyes, and let it fade away”, it feels like a salve for the weary spirit. However, I could quote line after line of lyrics that melted right down into my soul. I know I come from a perspective that is quite different than that from which the song was written. We all have our own shoes we walk through life in. However, I challenge you to listen to "Fade Away" and not feel like you are being comforted personally. Another sign of a great band. And the extensive instrumental section towards the last third of the track…wow.
Check out The Marcus Trummer Band at:
Stream the EP at: