“Speak the truth!” That was one of the heartfelt rallying cries shouted by members of The City Boys Allstars at their gig at The Cutting Room in home base New York City on the evening of August 28, 2013. As the band’s first performance in 17 years, it was a very special night, and the new album Blinded By the Night captures all the excitement generated by these ten musicians and three singers, who are among the most honest and skilled performers in the country. No band anywhere sounds like the fun-but-serious City Boys Allstars, whose alluring combination of jazz, R&B, blues, soul, and rock elements seems at once classic and fresh. There are tight horn bands but these gentlemen are more than that. “What really strikes me is [how] playing together comes extremely easy,” affirms bandleader Mike Merola, whose sure-fingered guitar playing acknowledges Joe Pass (jazz) and B. B. King (blues) as influences. “There was always chemistry here that everybody seems to dig. Nobody could say this was a put-together band because these guys have been into it since the day they met me and I came up with the concept in 1988.” In preparation for the Cutting Room concert, the horn and rhythm sections only needed a couple rehearsals to get the communicative chemistry just right. After one full-band workout, they were more than ready for the Manhattan club date.
Read more: The Return of the City Boys Allstars