Tucker, All About Vocals
New Shoes is made up of eight Schumacher original songs, each stylistically intriquing and full of colorful, well written and thought out storylines. Schumacher is among the league of above average writers on this outing. His ability to take the listener on a journey and put them in the storyline as a vivid observer is a testament to his true talent as a songwriter. Vocally, Schumacher is just what you would expect from a skillful songwriter; full bodied, gritty, and road traveled. His masculine voice further drive his songs of believability and wit down the road of genius. New Shoes, is a full spectrum release with something for everyone who enjoys a witty songwriting style that is catchy and exhibits seasoned cohesive presentation. No "Three Chord" sag here...Schumacher is a songwriting force to be reckoned with. The production sound is stellar and would stand up to any major label studio production. Schumacher has all his shoes in the right place in the closet. I hope this review helps him walk down the boulevard and get the attention he deserves.
Brian Bloom, Audiophile Audition
All the songs on the disc were both written and produced by Schumacher which is pretty impressive given the quality of the music and production. The record contains a mix of musical genres and starts off with traditional classic vocal jazz and then on the second track shifts into a combination of George Thorogood and Mose Allison. The electric guitar gives the music a bit of the blues feel and later tracks are boogie woogie, rock, funk, and soul. Track four is folk music and very much like a Bob Dylan tune. The horns on a lot of the tracks are implemented like the brass on a Steely Dan song or like other music from the 70s (while still maintaining a very current, up-to-date feel). With the advent of artists like Norah Jones and Diana Krall, vocal jazz is more popular than ever and room is made for some crossover artists like Schumacher. This disc has excellent sound quality. If a small independent guy can record a disc with such high quality there is absolutely no excuse for the big record companies. Voice is large and the soundstage is wide and focused while individual instruments sound natural and sweet. I cant get over how live this record soundsI highly recommend it. Songs included are: Dont Know A Thing About Love; Volume Goes Up When The Whiskey Goin Down; Holy Balcony; From The Other Side; Wonderin Why; The Right Thing; Cant Remember To Forget You; New Shoes.
BVS Reviews, Bruce Von Stiers
Right away you know that this is going to be a different kind of album. The first song, Don't Know A Thing About Love, is a slow and bluesy tune with laid back guitar and light harmonica. Craig has a voice that fits in with the blues set. The second song sounds like it could have been scraped up from the bowels of a Delta blues club. It is a terrific blues tune called Volume Goes Up When The Whiskey Goin' Down. There are some great sax and guitar solos in the song. And then the piano kicks in for a rollicking, face splitting grin kind of blues listening experience. Holy Balcony starts out with some tough blues sax and rock styled guitar. Craig gives a smoky vocal performance. From The Other Side is more of an Americana style of song. It is a damning song about how we consider our side to be on the side of freedom. But what about the other side of things? Aren't they acting out for their freedom? I really liked Wonderin' Why. It has some great guitar and sax melding together for a head bopping mild rock styled song. The Right Thing is a blues tune that has some too cool guitar background music. Craig once again gives the listener smoky, blues laden vocals. There is a tough sax solo abo ut a quarter ways through the song. Can't Remember To Forget You is a slow and gentle jazz influenced love song. The album ends with the title track, New Shoes. It is a slow and easy blues tune with plenty of great sax and endearing vocals. Craig Schumacher indeed has a style that is hard to describe. But definitely not hard to listen to. His music blurs the lines between jazz and blues with a pinch of rock thrown in here and there. He has a voice that can be moving and still give you smoky blues.
Sin, Smother Magazine
Smooth blues-rock riffs that collide with jazz tempos and chromatic harmonica rhythms comprise the depths of "New Shoes". Made up of all original tracks, Craig Schumacher's album sounds ripped straight from the smoky dens of the most notorious jazz clubs in America. Lyrically it has rifled through the great tomes of blues for melancholic tales that deserve a good whiskey or two to help things go down right. Nice fuzzy guitar and horn additions make this a damn spot-on album.
AMG (All Music Guide)
The compositions are reverent of their influences. The performances are entirely solid.
New Shoes is made up of eight Schumacher original songs, laced with vivid characters, hot-bed topics and frustrated romantics. Schumacher is a rugged male vocalist with a warm and asperous voice made to tell stories. The way a males voice should be, not homogenized or feminine. Schumacher is complimented by an all-star line-up of nationally recognized jazz sidemen that compliment the moodiness befitting the personalities of his tunes. Don't Know a Thing about Love is the sultry opening confessional filled with the emotional side of Dean Granros' extensive electric guitar vocabulary and the sympathetic sound of Gary Berg on chromatic harmonica.& nbsp; The tune is a notice that New Shoes will conjure much more than three chords and a broken heart.
One of my favorite cuts, Volume Goes up When Whiskey Goes Down, tells us a story of exuberance, the type all of us may have exhibited at one time or another, slide guitar weaves around an edgy Berg saxophone solo, an angular and provocative Chris Bates acoustic bass line and the bop-blues drumming of Kenny Horst. With characters like Crazy Mary and Officer Dick from the SDPD, and a blues sound full of r evealing musical spaces, Whiskey has the feel of a toast to Tom Waits.
Schumacher's ability to take the role of storyteller within his songs shines throughout New Shoes, employing an ensemble approach that makes it all cohesive. Schumachers ability to create different textures and moods is the crux of an entrancing release. Case in point Wonderin' Why takes a shuffling soul rocker, overlays Granros taut fuzz guitar lines and the soprano sax of Gary Berg, and then makes perfect sense when it enters the world of Miles Davis circa, In a Silent Way.
Holy Balcony, a heartland-style ballad smartly augmented with some film-noir sax by Berg and burning piano by LaMarca. The folk-leaning (guitar/voice/harmonica) anti-war song From the Other Side is a reflection of a mature writer who draws from personal experience and conveys it with emotion within his writing. Can't Remember to Forget You would be at home in a smoky basement jazz club with the feel of a classic Dexter Gordon ballad.
The Motown/Blues title track,
"New Shoes," buttons up the project with a poignant, tongue-in-cheek
exploration. The many layers of expression on New Shoes clearly reflect a musical
plan by Schumacher (as both producer and writer). On the heels of Live at Creation,
Schumacher proves this is not a Sophomore fluke, but a step in the beginning
of this prolific writers
Schumachers sophomore release New Shoes, exhibits the true mastery of a songwriter that exists without the voices of marketing or gimmick. The ability to create layers of intelligence weaved into a fabric of storyline is the essence of this release. This is not the release for you is canned in the box, jazz or blues is your desire. Schumacher exhibits the ability to stir the soul with his authentic gravelly voice and witty lyrics. The supporting cast rounds out the continued genius with standout solo runs by Dean Granros on guitar. Schumachers, New Shoes brings the message of irony life can serve up at times along with the truths about love, life and the pursuit of it. Reminiscent of the great storytellers before him, John Hiatt, Delbert McClinton, and John Prine, Schumacher has certainly taken the time to look and dig a little deeper.
" Kick back, light up somethin' relaxing & think about where "the blues" really comes from... all original tunes, with Craig doing both vocals & some wonderful acoustic guitar pieces that will transport you beyond the realm of "regular", as you find yourself arriving at that smoky lil' after-hours joint that's always in your dreams. Gary Berg's harp & sax work contribute a lot to that "feel", too, but all the players (Dean Granros on electric guitar, Kenny Horst on drums, Chris Bates doing bass & Donnie LaMarca's piano) have interpreted Mr. Shumacher's sweet aural visions perfectly for your ears - they're tight through & through. This kinda' music is what I refer to as "slinky"... I always get a vision of a snake slithering when I hear this kind of music... not sure why... it just kind of sneaks up on you & grabs you right where your soul is. My favorite track (from that standpoint, anyway) is cut 6, "The Right Thing"... pure slithery FONK, volkz! A highly creative CD that will entertain you for hours on end, with th' 'phones on, or out on th' road, this one gets a HIGHLY RECOMMENDED from our ears!."
Nicholas Sheffo, Fulvue-Drive In
"This is not a recreation of an era of Jazz, but an attempt to bring the old style of speech and vocal to the current era. he can sing and has some good writing skills."
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