It didn't take long for Toronto-based Scott McCord And The Bonafied Truth to make their mark; their very first gig won them top prize in the Toronto Blues Society's New Talent Search in 2008. Numerous awards and accolades have followed, and now they've released their self-titled sophomore effort.
Promotional materials liken the band to Southside Johnny and the Asbury Dukes, and it's an apt comparison; big, bold, and brassy, The Bonafied Truth tread much the same territory. It's all based, at least loosely, on the blues, but there's lots of soul and rock 'n' roll in the mix as well, and it's all gloriously greasy and ferociously funky.
McCord, who contributes guitar (acoustic and rhythm) in addition to harmonica and a bit of keys, has a supple voice with exceptional range, moving seamlessly from a throaty growl to a sweet falsetto. He had a hand in writing all of the material (most with co-writers Michael Johnston and Maury Lafoy) except the lone cover, an atmospheric version of the Beatles' "Baby You're A Rich Man."
It's obviously a project that's been given a lot of thought. Things kick off with a brief instrumental ("Deploy The Bird," subtitled "Bonafied Theme") before rolling into the funky "Gotta Be Something." There are two more short instrumental "Interludes" to help segue from one tune to another, and things flow nicely from beginning to end. Yet as carefully conceived as things are, craft never gets in the way of sheer, foot-stomping funk.
Material ranges from the driving and eminently danceable "This Heart Is On Fire" to the tender ache of "Where Did You Go," from the simmering, shimmery "Much Better" to the raucously raunchy "Certainty." Things wrap up with the slow-building "Ocean," an ultimately uplifting anthem of empowerment.
Arrangements make excellent use of the band's considerable resources. The core rhythm section - drummer Ben Rollo and bassist Charles James - have just the right limber, rubbery feel, and both Simon Craig's guitar and David Atkinson's contributions on keys (Rhodes electric , Wurlitzer, and B3) are top-notch throughout. The horns are superbly layered, with excellent interplay and fine solos from all concerned.
Scott McCord And The Bonafied Truth may be a relatively new band, and this only their second outing, but it's a fine and fully realized recording, and they're definitely a band with great promise ... recommended!