Joey Stuckey – Mixture (2013)

By creating his Southern-infused jazz sounds, guitarist Joey Stuckey plumbs the depths of genre-splicing on Mixture. His first full-length jazz record, this is an opportunity to dig in to another side of the everyman from Green Cove Springs, Florida.

Of course, Stuckey’s come a long way from Florida. He is the owner and sound engineer of Shadow Sound Studios and he owns and operates WTMT, a 24-hour Internet radio station. He’s also served as host of several programs on terrestrial radio in Macon, Georgia, and is a columnist for various publications.

As a musician, Stuckey’s shared the stage with the likes of Bad Company, Trisha Yearwood, Ted Nugent, Clarence Carter, James Brown, and the B-52’s.

It’s safe to say that nothing, not even blindness, has prevented him from going after what he wants. Stuckey lost his sight and sense of smell as an infant, but that hasn’t stopped him from bowling headfirst into a career that impresses as much as it invigorates.

Mixture, then, is the culmination of all of the above accomplishments. It is, like Stuckey’s impressive bio, diverse, colourful and a little busy at times.

As pure a player as Stuckey is, there is a tendency for Mixture to needlessly gloss over the precise passion of his playing with a gloss of effects and sound. On tracks like “Fall,” an otherwise beautiful piece, this overstuffing comes into play in the form of awkward rhythmic throbs and keyboards. Stuckey’s playing is so lovingly textured that crowding it out seems unfortunate.

Some tracks employ other players, like Tom Rule (keyboards and drum programming) and Miguel Castro (percussion), to better effect. The call-and-response delight of “Too Pooped to Bop” draws a bigger picture, with Stuckey walking the line with some enjoyable fretwork. Rule’s input adds to the jam.

“Raining” is a lovely piece that exemplifies the delicacy of Stuckey’s guitar and the melodic sensibility of his approach to music. It’s a patient number, but it’s a touch overproduced.

The fireworks of album-opener “We’ll See,” with Stuckey shooting off blast-like riffs and careening through a dominant solo, is similarly boosted by the grooves of Rule and Castro. Pam Rule’s vocals take things back in time.

There’s little use doubting Stuckey’s talents. Mixture proves his capacity for wrapping around the notes and delivering vibrant, passionate and enduring punch-outs. But the production is unnecessarily sleek, with synthetic effects overtaking what could’ve been a more organic and enthralling listening experience.

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Jordan Richardson

Jordan Richardson is a Canadian freelance writer and ne'er-do-well. He also contributes to his own Canadian Cinephile and Canadian Audiophile websites. Contact Something Else! Reviews at reviews@somethingelsereviews.com.

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