Drew Schultz - Live at 20 Front Street (Advance Review)

Drew Schultz
drew_schultz_live_at_20_front_street.jpg
Click on CD cover
to listen or purchase

Drew Schultz and the Broken Habits - Live at 20 Front Street

The History of African-American music was probably the most memorable class that I took when I was an IU undergrad, and it was definitely my favorite course. I always had a deep love of music, and particularly R&B, soul and gospel, so being in a class where I got to hear many of the songs that I knew (along with stuff from the early days of the ‘rock’ period) and having a professor who connected the music that I listened to in the mid-1980s to the music of previous generations while also putting that music in a political, economic and racial context was revelatory to me. That professor, Dr. James Mumford, said one thing that has remained with me as a music lover and now a reviewer of music: you judge the quality of music by how well it conforms to the conventions of its genre.

Drew Schultz and the Broken Habits - Live at 20 Front Street

The History of African-American music was probably the most memorable class that I took when I was an IU undergrad, and it was definitely my favorite course. I always had a deep love of music, and particularly R&B, soul and gospel, so being in a class where I got to hear many of the songs that I knew (along with stuff from the early days of the ‘rock’ period) and having a professor who connected the music that I listened to in the mid-1980s to the music of previous generations while also putting that music in a political, economic and racial context was revelatory to me. That professor, Dr. James Mumford, said one thing that has remained with me as a music lover and now a reviewer of music: you judge the quality of music by how well it conforms to the conventions of its genre.

Drummer, songwriter and music educator Drew Schultz doesn’t look to be much older than I was when I took that class back in the day. However, Schultz possesses a set of skills that I do not. He combines my love of the music and people who made America dance in the 1960s and 70s, with the knowledge of the professor that comes from being educated in some of the nation’s best music colleges. On top of that, Schultz is a top-flight drummer who performed with a who’s who of Detroit musical legends.

As a band leader, Schultz used his music as platform to promote music education. Half of the process from Back to School, his 2012 album of original tunes that featured legendary singers and instrumentalists Spyder Turner and Dennis Coffey, went to music programs in the Detroit public schools. School remains in session on Schultz latest endeavor, Live at 20 Font Street. Backed by his band The Broken Habits and vocalist Trish Shandor, Schultz multi-tasks by serving as musical historian, drummer and songwriter on the five original tracks that appear on this live album.

The balance of Live at 20 Front Street is filled with the band and Shandor performing classic tunes of Motown and other soul labels, while Schultz regales the audience with stories about his musical heroes, educates them history of the songs, the singers, and the musicians and their unique contributions that helped craft the Motown sound.

In fact, two of the things that stand out about Schultz are his engaging personality and how he establishes an educational banter with his audiences, and his talent as a songwriter adept at crafting tunes in the style of certain singers and groups.  Schultz introduces “Tracks of My Tears” by giving the audience a short bio of Motown’s first male heart throb, Smokey Robinson. After the song the drummer tells a funny story that begins with him striking up a conversation with guitarist Marvin Tarplin prior to a Smokey Robinson concert that ends with Schultz being called on stage for an odd bit of audience participation. Schultz wrote the next song, “Fairytale,” that he wrote for The Miracles several years ago. “Fairytale” sports the witty lyricism that includes cultural references that make Robinson one of the world’s greatest songwriters.

Not every song featured on Live at 20 Front Street was a Motown tune, but nearly all of them had a Detroit connection. “Told You So,” is a Tower of Power styled number that Schultz wrote because TOP is one of his favorite bands. However, Schultz tells the audience that TOP founder Emilio Castillo was born in the Motor City, and that the band was originally called the Motowns.

Schultz, who refers to himself as a geeky kid, is a reflection of the deep cultural impact made by the music of Detroit. His parents introduced him to soul music at an early age and the music never left him. He is one of many artists who work to ensure that future generations continue to hear and learn about classic soul music. Schultz brings the classroom to the stage on Live at 20 Front Street, and school has rarely been so cool. Recommended.

By Howard Dukes

 
Featured Album - Will Downing - "Romantique, Part 1"
Featured Album - The Soul Rebels - "Poetry In Motion"
Album of the Month - Plunky & Oneness - "Afroclectic"
Choice Cut - Chris Jasper - "For The Love of You"

Leave a comment!