Call It What You Like
Michael Cleary Band
funky groovy uplifting rock with thoughtful lyrics
Call It What You Like is the album that started it all. Renowned guitar phenomenon, Michael Cleary was tearing up the Connecticut circuit with the 3 piece power trio "The Bus" when he ventured out on his own to experiment with some of his compositions in a more expanded format. Enlisting Paul Bozzi, who was the drummer in The Bus, to play percussion, he then hooked up with John and Ed Corvo on drums and bass, and Tony Scaringella on keys and brought them into the studio to help cook his musical stew. What started as one man's vision soon became a complete group effort, and the care and dedication they gave to perfecting the arrangements and performances turned this into a timeless masterpiece that still sounds as fresh, exciting and moving today, as it did when it was first released. Surprises and ear candy abound. From the "everything but the kitchen sink" vocal arrangements in the title track to the multi-tracked guitar mayhem of Riff of The Day, listeners will find themselves grooving and smiling, thinking and feeling and wanting to listen to it all over again. Once you are turned onto the Michael Cleary Band's songs you are compelled to go see them live, and that, my friends, is another story....
The Michael Cleary band is a Hartford institution. They are celebrating their 15th year of making original blues/rock music with a twist and have been called Hartford's answer to the Allman Brothers. The MCB is a perennial favorite in the Hartford Advocate's reader's poll and previous winners of the "Best Rock" and "Best Blues" categories. They have played with Tower of Power, Little Feat, Average White Band, Joan Osbourne, Peter Wolf, NRBQ and countless other regional and national acts. Their latest release, "Tales from the Cup," was released in August 2004, and their upcoming live release will be available early 2007.
The following is a review from The Hartford Advocate, 3/25/04:
Rites of Spring: The Michael Cleary Band after 13 years is Hartford´s answer to the Allman Brothers.
The first weekend of spring brought with it some very un-spring-like weather such as snow and ice, but it also brought a couple of really good shows to warm the heart of any lover of local, original music. On Saturday, at the Arch Street Tavern I caught a heartfelt and very well received set by the long-running Michael Cleary Band. The Michael Cleary Band is a Hartford institution. For 13 years the band has been churning out their highly addictive blend of blues-based rock to appreciative audiences in the area. They do an excellent job of merging different styles of music into the standard blues rock template. So, while the songs have a bluesy rock base, there are also traces of funk, jazz, country, soul and Latin in the mix, making the band sound at times like Hartford's own version of the Allman Brothers.
Each member of the band is talented in his own right, but Cleary definitely deserves some notice for his ace guitar playing. A master of his instrument, he effortlessly shoots out bluesy, emotive solos especially on the occasions when the band gets down and jams. But he's also a solid rhythm player, able to lay down a nice solid groove, when duty calls.
Cleary calls his band a "labor of love" and one can hear this love in the music they play. Even more so, you can feel the love the fans show for this veteran band as they danced the night away to the music.