Become a member and get exclusive access to articles, live sessions and more!
Start Your Free Trial

Rod McGaha: The Servant

An exciting blend of styles from rock and jazz to the edgiest hip-hop/alternative fringe, Rod McGaha’s The Servant (Magnatone MGT 113-2; 45:05) offers captivating sounds and positive messages for a powerful one-two punch. The multi-talented singer/songwriter/trumpeter combines heady rock guitars, a funk beat and Native American chant-recalling chord changes with a message of acceptance on “I’ll Never Know,” and delivers an all-out wild jam read of Miles Davis’ “All Blues,” riding a tidal wave of funk and Latin rhythm groove. McGaha’s lyrics match his powerful arrangements-the lean, soulful “So Long” (delivered by Nicole Long in a strong, growling vocal performance) is a declarative ballad of freedom (“nothing you can say can change my mind/I’m not the one to blame/Your hands will never touch me/No more bruises and no more pain”), and the lumbering gospel groover “Back Porch” speaks of a frightened society that distrusts its neighbors. Even in more frivolous moods (like the old-soul funky “Just Clown ‘n Around,”) McGaha exhilarates and challenges with his driving arrangements. The results are completely fresh and unexpected.

Originally Published