27 April 1995

New CD from Trickbag is an Unpretentious Treat for Blues Fans

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The Hamilton Spectator

Hamilton blues band Trickbag has a brand new CD on the music store racks - and it's a good one. Cut in less than six days at the Grant Avenue studios with Mike Fonfara ( Rhinoceros, Lou Reed ) producing, the polished veteran band delivers the goods in a big time way.

It opens with a scorching R&B rave up, Ain't Nobody, featuring vocalist Donna Panchezak, winds through the bayou, the South Side and other bluesy environs before ending up on a northern highway doing the Moose Legs Boogie. And that's fitting.

The band itself calls its music a "gumbo", the marriage of New Orleans rhythms, Delta stylings, gospel, R&B, big band rockin' blues and something from north of the 49th that makes everything uniquely theirs. Trickbag - also including drummer Paul Panchezak, guitarist Larry Feudo and bassist, vocalist Shawn O'Halloran - has been around for about six years.  They've been to school with the King Biscuit Boy, local harp legend, in venues from Canada to the crawfish coast. There's not a weak cut on the debut CD - the musicianship is up to Trickbag's flawless standard, the songwriting is superb, the vocals inspired.

It's a winner. Says guitarist Feudo, "It's our way of saying hello." O Halloran quips the CD will either make it so "Trickbag will never work again, or it will continue to struggle." Singer Panchezak notes folks in the business thought Trickbag was "doomed to fail" when it started out, the band's material being so varied and eclectic.

"We've surprised people by staying together. We haven't changed in order to get more attention to get the gigs ... " Reassuring to the band is that Peerless Records, their label, is doing the job right. Copies have gone out to every DJ, and are in virtually every store.

Peerless' head guy, Fred Xavier, a certifiable blues nut and ex-Vancouver club owner tends to favour the polished West Coast sound exemplified by Powder Blues. Trickbag is certainly polished but they can barrel-house too.  Trickbag, the CD, features other homegrown talent, such as Biscuit, guitarists John Lewis and Mikey McMillan, pianist Jesse O'Brien, the punchy, precise horn contributions of Leo Sullivan, along with Bob Doidge working the board.

Hornsters Steve McDade and Larry Taylor, with organists Fonfara and Denis Keldie, rounded out the sessions.

"Hamilton," says Feudo, triumphantly "lacks pretention." "Here," adds singer Panchezak, "we just play the music."

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Trickbag E.P.K.

Click Here to download the latest Electronic Press Kit of the band; a source for bios, demo tracks, pictures and more.

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