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Album Review

True to their name, the Motor City Horns are four musicians who hail from Detroit, MI — Mark Byerly on trumpet and flügelhorn, Bob Jensen on trumpet, Keith Kaminski on saxophones, and John Rutherford on trombone and tuba. The Motor City Horns are talented journeymen who've collaborated with many of the most notable names on the Michigan music scene, from heartland rock hero Bob Seger to techno pioneer Carl Craig, and on the album Local Boys, they offer up a healthy dose of love and respect for their fellow artists from the Mitten State. Each track on Local Boys finds them collaborating with a different lead vocalist (except for three instrumentals), and 44 different musicians (all from Michigan, most from Detroit) contributed to these sessions, which run the gamut from churning funk, smooth grooving soul, and rough-and-ready blues, to polished but streetwise hip-hop and swaggering rock & roll, along with several distinct flavors of jazz. In many respects, Local Boys sounds more like a compilation than an album anchored by a single group, and while the horn section is the sole common element on these 15 tracks, the Motor City Horns understand the traditional role of horns is that of support, and while they carry the melodies on these tunes (and do so with skill and style), they're confident enough to let the vocalists take center stage, and they give enough spots to the guest soloists to make this one of the most democratic albums of recent memory. And sharing so much of the show with their guests was clearly no act of creative charity — Thornetta Davis' powerhouse vocals on "Kissing My Love," the internationalist flavor of the group Bump on "Appollonia," the joyous trad jazz stylings of the Hot Club of Detroit on "The Moochie," and Alberta Adams' perfectly aged performance on "Remember Me" all richly earn their star billing. At a time when "the Tragedy of Detroit" is a popular story in the national media, Local Boys shows that the musical community that has been such a big part of this great city is still as strong and powerful as ever, and the Motor City Horns deserve the key to the city for showing just how many gifted artists are still living, working, and thriving there.

Customer Reviews

tremendous versatility

This disc displays the full spectrum of Detroit music along with the tremendous versatility of the Motor City Horns. I don't know that I have come across a collection of music like this one before; A complete, cohesive musical presentation made up of wildly different styles and genres. Definitely something for everyone.

Motor City Horns release a musical feast

What does it take to back up one of the biggest and best voices in rock? To create new arrangements for some of the most popular songs of our time? And add muscle, oomph and pure pleasure for more than half a million fans over 60 shows?

To do all that, you've gotta be the Motor City Horns -- Mark Byerly, Bob Jenson, Keith Kaminski and John Rutherford.

If you heard them with touring with Bob Seger, you know they pack a punch. Now you can hear them with some of Detroit's best musicians, including 14 guest vocalists.

Give a listen and you'll see exactly what Seger meant when he said this about the Motor City Horns: "They're like our turbocharger -- when we really want to shift into triple digits, we get the horns out."

Local Boys represents almost two years of recording and production, and spans a wide range of musical styles. The up-tempo numbers -- like "Kissing My Love" with Thornetta Davis and The Brothers Groove, or "If You Love Somebody" with Tino Martin Gross and The Howling Diablos -- have been burning my car stereo speakers all summer.

You'll also hear blues, worldbeat that will sweep you off your feet (it may be a federal crime to listen to "Appollonia" in a seated position) and even an old Duke Ellington number, "The Mooche," recorded by MCH with The Hot Club of Detroit.

That just scratches the surfaces. Listen to the samples, and see for yourself.

One point about the iTunes version – it doesn’t have the, track that will blow away every Seger fan: "Lucifer" by the Motor City Horns and Barb Payton, one of Seger's amazing backup singers. Seger's music is not licensed for the Internet -- to get this track, you need to buy the physical disk.

Where ever you buy it, you’re gonna love it. After all, how many groups can take a classic, powerful Seger song and just knock it out of the park? Not many that I know. And when Seger himself uses words like "turbocharger" to describe your music, you know you're good.


Formed: Detroit, MI

Genre: Rock

Years Active: '00s

Comprised of several Detroit-area musicians, the Motor City Horns have worked individually with a long list of top names -- from the Temptations and Yo-Yo Ma to R. Kelly and the Verve Pipe -- as well as a number of local groups and musicians, including entire albums with Charlie Dentel (Innocent Things, 2003) and the Brothers Groove (Season of Hope, 2002). Bandmembers include John Rutherford (trombone), Mark Byerly...
Full Bio
Local Boys, The Motor City Horns
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