If you haven’t hipped yourself to Springsteen’s guitarist Little Steven and his side gigs with his three XM radio stations, Little Steven’s Underground Garage, Coolest Songs in the world, and Outlaw Country, jump in on it now. And, for an even deeper dive, he’s got his own record label, Wicked Cool Records, where he digs deep with a stable of some of the coolest bands on the planet that you have never heard. With their debut set for Wicked Cool Records, the Dirty Gems have come up with a gem of a record with virtually no miss-steps over a tightly constructed 10 song set.
Avoid the temptation of glossing over the opener “She Likes To Party” with its Sly Stone by way of “Play That Funky Music” mojo as a one and done wonder. Sure this song is groovy, but trust us, this is only the tip of the coolness spear.
Overt genre-hopping has been been the death knell of many an album, but here, jumping from the mothership funk of the opener to the Motown worthy “I Can Still Feel It,” and be-bopping on to the Robert Palmer groove of “Can’t Give It,” the transition is as pure and smooth as a good bottle of whiskey.
Kris, as a piano player, will definitely render comparisons to early Elton. And, if after listening to “See You Again” and his spot-on terrific extended-jam reading of “Take Me To The Pilot” you don’t agree with this assessment, your Elton John fan club membership will be revoked. Bad Company By Way of REO Speedwagon makes an appearance on “I’m Your Man” and Deep Muscle Shoals vibes spring from every pore of “Don’t Turn Around.” “Tortuga” even has a Santana tinge to it.
It is not often that an album comes around that is this good that nobody has heard. Kris Rodgers and his mates deserve a wider following. Let’s make it happen.