Altered Five Blues Band just celebrated their 20th Anniversary as a band and have recently released Holler if You Hear Me, their strongest releases to date. This review is long overdue, and the release has already been featured on other Year End Top Lists as well as in Guitar World Magazine. The release was the 4th release produced by blues producer extraordinaire Tom Hambridge (Christone “Kingfish” Ingram, Buddy Guy, Tommy Castro) and recorded at Ocean Way Nashville Recording Studios (Joe Bonamassa, Eric Gales, Kenny Wayne Shepherd).
The songs and production on this release surpass their previous releases and are a testament to the musical abilities of the band and their determination to continually grow throughout their career. JT’s strong baritone voice seems to effortlessly move around the songs with ease, while the band builds a solid platform to showcase his vocal abilities. Jeff Schroedl (guitar), Steve Huebler (keys), Mark Solveson (bass), and Alan Arber (drums) are at the top of their game musically and are all underrated musicians in their own right. Holler if You Hear Me also features guest appearances by harmonica virtuoso Jason Ricci on five tracks. Jason’s stylings are a great addition to solid musicianship and songs on this release.
The title track “Holler if You Hear Me” was the lead single to radio and set the record up with an up tempo feel good blues track that gives the listener a glimpse of what an Altered Five Blues Band Show would be like – high energy and fun. The next track “Guilty of a Good Time” settles into a good groove and you begin to see glimpses of the musicality of the band, and the production on the recording. “If You Go Away (She Might Come Back)” is a full-throttle song that shows the ferocity of Jason Ricci on Harmonica while showcasing clever lyrics that Altered Five have become known for. “Full Moon, Half Crazy” and “I Got All I Need” feature two of the best guitar solos on the recording and are great examples of why I feel Jeff and this band is so underrated.
“Holding on With One Hand” is a classic slow blues track, that tells the age-old story of a failed relationship. This theme is not new and is one of the cornerstones of the blues. Altered Five, however, deliver it in a unique way lyrically that seems fresh and new. In my opinion, this is the standout track on the release and should become of the most popular songs of the band.
Too many times when you start to listen to a release the best songs are at the beginning of the release and get worse the farther into the release you go. That is not the case with this release. Some of the later tracks on this release are some hidden gems on the record, and one of the reasons this release gets better the more you listen to it. Altered Five Blues Band has released the best release of their career and hopefully this is a foreshadowing of what’s next for this band. Holler if You Hear Me is a very good release from a seasoned band that deserves recognition as one of the better bands in the genre.
The Review: 8/10
Can’t Miss Tracks
– Hollar If You Hear Me
– Guilty of a Good Time
– If You Go Away (She Might Come Back)
– I Got All I Need
The Big Hit
– Holding On With One Hand