© 2018 The Grass Roots Cultural and Performing Arts Center

GA-20

When Matt Stubbs embarks on a new project his first thought is authenticity. He studies the gear, the technique, the history and the results. He's a meticulous student of music history from that stand point. He's also a tremendously gifted guitar player that has been playing professionally since his teens, mostly with blues legend Charlie Musselwhite but also with a host of blues music's bigger names including Janiva Magness, James Cotton and John Hammond. GA-20 is a throwback to the post-war blues era of the late 1950's and early 1960's when the likes of Earl Hooker, Lazy Lester, Ike Turner and Jackie Brenston brought soul and fuzz drenched blues to the white masses. He found and extraordinary guitarist and singer, Pat Faherty, at an open mic and the two formed GA-20 shortly thereafter picking up stalwart Boston drummer Chris Anzalone to round out the trio. The name comes from the old Gibson tube-amp that can be heard on a slew of those old recordings. Not to settle on being just a cool 'cover band' they set out to write some new material in the style of those old classic blues recordings. The result is an authentic preservation of a long neglected, pure sound combined with a contemporary edge.

Amidst the fuzzy, gritty sound of Faherty's vocals and the crisp tone of the Silvertone and Stratotone guitars the first thing you notice visually is that there's no bass player in GA-20. The second thing you notice is that you don't notice that in the sound. Both Stubbs and Faherty are gifted lead players and both can lay back into the rhythm and fill the sound out. The delivery is very reminiscent of the Memphis Stax, Sun sound of the late 50's but it's by no means a copy and it a refreshing modern take on that specific traditional blues sound. It's what you expect from a Matt Stubbs undertaking.

Mixed in with the 12 song set of somewhat obscure covers is a collection of originals that should end up on blues radio shows with any vision. Although much of what parades as blues based radio is heavily entrenched in the standard classic blues staples from Muddy Waters, BB King, Stevie Ray Vaughan and known entities there are a handful of progressive places that embrace new blues music and hopefully songs like "Dry Run" and "Gone for Good" will get a shot. "Dry Run" is a hit, if blues music can claim such a moniker in this day and age. Regardless, Stubbs is breathing life into a bygone moment in music history much like he does with the psychedelic instrumental quartet The Antiguas and that, in itself, deserves recognition.

 

GA-20

Pat Faherty - guitar, vocals

Matt Stubbs - guitar

Chris Anzalone - drums

The Session Crew

Produced and edited by:
Bill Hurley

Cameras:
Maribeth Arena

Bill Hurley
H. Nat Stevens
Joanne Craig

Audio:
Eric Nordstrom
Connor Quigley

Mixed by:
Connor Quigley

Lighting/Special Effects:
Rick Smith

Stage Production:
Gerry Earabino

Photos:
Dan Busler Photography