The adjective that best describes GA-20 is classic. That being said, we’re talking about classic as in the era when blues music was morphing into early rock & roll in places like Memphis, New Orleans, Chicago, and East Texas. Their newest offering, the 4-song EP Live Vol. 1 cements them firmly in that genre – and man, do we love it!
This is stroll with your baby at the sock hop music. Jump blues that’s combined with early R&B, then produced by snarling guitars and scorching, distorted vocals that somehow manage to sound vintage and fresh at the same time. If the blues did have a baby, and they named it rock & roll, GA-20 went back in time and were in the delivery room.
GA-20 is made up of Matthew Stubbs and Pat Faherty (who also provides the vocals) on guitar, and drummer Tim Carman. They were formed in Boston, MA in 2018, a project born out of their mutual love of heavy traditional blues, R&B, and rock & roll of the late ’50s and early ’60s. Faherty and Stubbs bonded over legendary artists like Lazy Lester, J.B. Lenoir, Earl Hooker, Buddy Guy, Otis Rush and Junior Wells. Feeling a void in current music, the duo have set out to write, record and perform a modern version of this beloved art form. Raw, passionate and honest performance – both on stage and in the studio – is the only goal, and they have succeeded in spades.
Prior to the release of their debut album, Lonely Soul last October, Stubbs spent 11 years as guitarist for Blues Hall of Famer Charlie Musselwhite. He also toured with John Hammond, James Cotton, Junior Watson and James Harman to name just a few. Faherty is a Magna Cum Laude graduate of Berklee and has been a staple on the Boston music scene ever since. The point is, these two know a little something about the blues. They’re not posers, but rather innovators of a style that was happening 60+ years ago.
With a total running time of under 11 minutes, you’ll want to be one of the first 1,000 to get Live Vol. 1 on limited 7″ teal vinyl. However, 7″ black vinyl, CD and digital/streaming formats will also be available when this EP drops on September 18th via Karma Chief Records.
With the world as it is, a great breathe of fresh air is welcome right now and GA-20 are providing it.
*Feature image by John O’Donnell