Idiot Grins, Oakland California based “Rock and Soul band’s new album State of Health is reminiscent of the Bluesy Funk / Soul infused Rock of the late sixties and early to mid-seventies, when bands like WAR, Temptations and Carlos Santana rules the airwaves. This album is classic in composition but very modern in delivery and performance, some tracks definitely fit with today’s social and political issues, but retains a light hearted feel, making each some timeless. Fav tracks on this album State of Health are Get Busy Dying, Take It Back, Dream, Momma’s Tears and Big Starry Night, which is not just the last song on the album, but is definitely a great closing to an album that musically spans and entire generation of the music genre.
Idiot Grins are fronted by lead vocalist John Hansen, Evan Eustis on bass, mandolin and vocals, Mike Conner on keyboards, Michael Melgoza on drums and Randy Strauss on guitar. The band, praised for their talents and songwriting have in this new album created the stuff of dreams. The chemistry of the artists is evident, everything just fits together perfectly and sounds beautiful, truly a treat to hear.
Idiot Grins have released three albums – Quarry in 2010, the critically acclaimed Big Man in 2015, and now State of Health this past December 2017. State of Health features the sublime backing vocals of Oakland’s own Byrd Sisters, together with an all-star horn lineup led by the legendary Johnny Bamont. The third Idiot Grins album was recorded at Oakland’s Snug Harbor. More rock, some soul, some funk, and great players that combined have a huge range of talents to enjoy.
In addition to featuring the talents of The Byrd Sisters, the album includes the amazing talents of Johnnie Bamont on saxophone, Rene Jenkin and Jeff Cressman on trombone, Marvin McFadden on trumpet, percussions by David Frazier and Joe Goldmark performing on pedal steel.
Just a bit about The Byrd Sisters, the backing vocalists that I believe made this album sound as great as it does. Lena Byrd-Miles, Lisa Byrd, and Lauren Byrd have been performing since 1992. Having had “music in the blood” of both sides of their family, trained in the art by their mother, Debra Starks-Byrd, The Byrd Sisters received their start, singing at their local church.
Born and raised in Oakland, California, they serve by giving back to their community through the gift of song locally, as well as on a national level. With somewhat of a traditional sound, they have won the hearts, ears and accolades of many down through the years. working with various artists with background vocal stylings for studio recordings, live events and concert recordings.