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Posted: October 21, 2009

Marty, beer and song: good times on tap

Plus a blues cruise with music greats

Mike Cote

MARTY JONES & THE GREAT UNKNOWNS Drink & Song (martyjones.net)

Marty_Jones_the_GUs_smaller_file_7-27-09.JPGWhenever you hear from Marty Jones, he's usually talking about beer. So naming his latest EP Drink and Song is right on tap, especially for a collection of good-time rootsy twang tunes.

Readers of ColoradoBiz might remember the beer column Jones used to write for our "Vine" section, and any media person in town knows him from the several years he spent promoting Dale's Pale Ale and other brands in the Oskar Blues family. Jones recently moved over to Wykoop Brewing Co.

Perhaps a bigger change for Jones is a return to recording studio for the first time in seven years, and it's a welcome one for the singer and guitarist.

The sing-along hit here is "Maintaining a 2.0," a celebration of the party life in college. Here's the killer line: "If you add my G.P.A. to my B.A.C., the numbers will show, I'm maintaining a 2.0." The rollicking country music from the Great Unknowns and Jones' drawl delivery capture that spirit.

Even within the good-humored attitude, however, is a bit of longing. "Maintaining a 2.0" drops references to the college romance and Shakespeare classes; "Drinkin'" pays tribute to friends hanging out in a bar commiserating over the state of the world; and "Half a Bed to Spare," evokes the kind of pathos you look for in a tears-in-your-beer country song.

The good-times vibe still wins hands-down. "Yepperdoodle" and "Hellbound Party Train" -- hard-driving rockabilly songs that recall Johnny Cash's Sun Records years -- infect the part of your brain that is itching to forget, kick back and have a good time.

Thanks, Marty - but five songs ain't enough. Back to the studio, dude. (Oh, and can you spot me one of those growlers?)

From the music and movies box:

DEEP SEA BLUES, directed by Robert Mugge (DVD -- Micro Werks)

Deep_Sea_Blues.jpgYou could truthfully call Deep Sea Blues a two-hour infomercial for Roger Naber's Legendary Rhythm & Blues Cruise. Naber is listed as executive producer so he obviously had a hand in its creation. But if late-night product pitches played like this one, I'd stay up until dawn.

Robert Mugge, best known for the classic music film Deep Blues, spent a week aboard a giant cruise ship as it sailed to the Caribbean in 2007.

Hundreds of blues fans gladly spent their vacation money to hang with such blues, soul and roots music heroes as Tommy Castro, Buckwheat Zydeco, the Fabulous Thunderbirds, Tab Benoit, Ruthie Foster and Otis Clay.

Watching guitarist Michael Burke perform on the deck with gorgeous, calm waters rolling behind him is one of those picture-perfect moments that make you want to book the next one of these jaunts.

One of Mugge's most artful moments comes when he splices a performance from guitarist Joey Gilmore shot at an island bar with another one of the same song shot aboard the ship, a seamless transition from a casual setting to a stylish one.

Although the film is packed with performance footage, Mugge also focused on the camaraderie that grows among the travelers and musicians as they sail the seas and celebrate good times.

Footage of Taj Mahal serving as the co-host of an on-board cooking show offers a taste of the connections the musicians make with their fans. (Too bad we don't get to see Taj perform, though his frequent backing group, the Phantom Blues Band, is captured supporting singer Tasha Taylor.)

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Mike Cote is the former editor of ColoradoBiz. E-mail him at mcote@cobizmag.com.

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