The Flip Side Releases New Album
By: Sam Houghton, February 15, 2013
- The Flip Side rocks the house at a recent show at the Woods Hole Community Hall.
Local blues duo Chris LoCascio and Melissa Roberts Weidman, with a collection of other musicians and under the moniker the Flip Side, have recorded their second album, “Can’t Stop,” which features 10 original tracks of lively and slow-grooved, electric blues music. The band will celebrate the release with a live performance at Cutrona Studios in Mashpee Commons today starting at 5:30 PM.
“Can’t Stop” is the follow-up to their first album, “Along for the Ride,” both recorded in Mr. LoCascio’s home studio in Falmouth, which he calls Brown Bag Studios.
The do-it-yourself engineer and keyboard player said that while their first record was more eclectic and harder to pin down in terms of a genre, “Can’t Stop” is more focused on blues and jazz. With songs like “Momma Blues,” “Cool Black Hat,” and “Booty Mama,” the blues certainly is present throughout the entire album.
And while all blues bands live and die by the singer, Ms. Weidman, singing lead for most of the numbers, gives the band its signature style, her full and deep voice ringing out over the 12-bar progressions. Her big voice, in songs like “Hangh?” or “1/2 MT Glass Blues,” hits with an almost theatrical or show tunes quality, yet retains a rawness recalling late nights in smoky bars and pool halls.
With the occasional smooth sax line blowing in the background on songs like “Hanging on a Fine Thread,” the old-time jazz vibe is also audible in her voice and through the music.
Collaboration is Lifelong Endeavor
The title of the album is a tribute to the fact that Mr. LoCascio and Ms. Weidman have played music together for nearly two decades and their collaboration does not have an end in sight. “It’s a lifelong endeavor,” said Ms. Weidman. “It’s one of those rare partnerships… the synergy is way beyond what we could do alone.” Or, simply put by Mr. LoCascio of their earlier years playing together, “We connected telepathically.” And an idea brought up by both musicians was that, beyond Flip Side or blues, music will always come to them.
Apparent throughout “Can’t Stop” is the band’s sense of humor. As Ms. Weidman said, “We both have very playful attitudes.” Such is the case for “Cool Black Hat,” a song written about sitting on the periphery of the in-crowd in a certain blues music scene and the absurdity that seems to follow the “big-time” blues musician. “We weren’t the well-known musicians with black hats,” Ms. Weidman said of the song, which she accompanies singing backup with a sarcastic croon.
The lyrics read “Someone we ought to know/ just in from Chicago… Doesn’t matter if you practice / If you want to get attention / Show them where it’s at / get your mojo working / You wear the cool black hat.”
Both musicians point out that the humor is not nasty, but good-humored. “Anytime I can help people smile and give them a little respite from the heaviness...,” said Ms. Weidman in response to the question as to why the humor. Mr. LoCascio added that any album with a song called “Hangh?” has an obvious sense of humor.
The majority of the lyrics were written by Ms. Weidman, while putting together the music was left mainly to Mr. LoCascio. Mr. LoCascio said that he had a stack of lyrics on his keyboard written by Ms. Weidman and when he felt like writing music, which spanned the course of five years for “Can’t Stop,” he would go through the stack and work out an arrangement. From there, the two would put the song in motion together.
Long History of Playing Together
This has been the mode for the last seven or eight years the duo has been writing songs together. They have been playing together for nearly two decades in different jazz and blues groups. They met while playing in Joe Sutton and the Safe Sextet when Mr. LoCascio joined in as the new piano player. They have played in local blues bands like George Gritzbach Band, and Is We Ain’t as well as accompanying singers like Shirley Lewis, a favorite in the jazz scene around town; their highlights include opening for B.B. King as well as Eddie Money.
Ms. Weidman plays electric bass on “Can’t Stop” and Mr. LoCascio laid down all the keyboard tracks. The musicians joining the duo for the recordings were guitarist Marc Larrey, bass player Rich Hill, percussionists Drew Buckley, James Royce, Dan Cross and Mark Van Bork, and horn players Wil Harrigan and Mark Chenevert.
Along with the album release party, Cutrona Studios is opening an exhibition featuring four local photographers capturing music. It is titled “Seeing Sound: Images of Music” and the featured Cape Cod photographers are Mark Chester, Dan Cutrona, Rowland Scherman, and James Joiner.
Cutrona Studios is at 27 Fountain Street.