Dojo Cuts - Take From Me (2012)

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    The art of a music artist or band utilizing a really good and strong rhythm guitar is fast becoming a lost art.  Only a scant few mainstream artists in R&B/Soul use it in their music, and most of those acts have been around since the early 90’s.  In current mainstream R&B, the use of the programmed drum with every other instrument revolving around beat is the norm.  But there are still a few bands that understand the importance of establishing a strong rhythm guitar in their music, and Dojo Cuts is one such band. 

    The Sidney, Australia six-piece band has made it its mission to give the best in classic soul and funk, ala the 1960’s and 70’s, with a Memphis/Stax flair.  And it works very well.  Dojo Cuts makes a point to keep you moving to a strong, syncopated groove that’s full of life, color, texture and freedom on every song.  The band gives a refreshingly classic sound that Booker T. and the MG’s would be proud of; a sound that stimulates both your ears and body, to the point where you become a slave to their rhythms.  It’s a groove that can spark the listener to break into some heavy improvisational dancing, 60’s go-go free-style on some songs.  The beauty of Dojo Cuts is, much like the 90’s UK soul/funk band, the Brand New Heavies, they have a soulful lead vocalist who gives the band a broader color and texture; she makes the songs more 3-D if you will.  And that says a lot, considering Dojo Cuts can still put their thing down regardless.  Roxie Ray, however, is a perfect fit for the band, and has clearly done her homework as she approaches each song.  Ray never brings anything less than pure soul vocals in a song, and she makes sure to let you know why she’s the featured vocalist.  Somewhere, native Memphis singer Valencia Robinson is nodding her head in approval; she can fully understand what both Ray and Dojo cuts are putting down. 

    The band’s new album, Take From Me, expounds upon their first self-titled project, taking the music to yet another level.  The 12-track album is comprised mainly of groove songs that call for you to make your body jerk, but in a good way, because each cut gives you something you can feel, from way back.  From the intro to the last track, you’re bound to move and groove, and feel what Roxie Ray is singing to you.  And it’ll make you feel both refreshed and optimistic for soul and funk music’s future. 

    I was told by an Australian friend of mine that music similar to what Dojo Cuts is putting down is running rampant through the Land Down Under.  It is rarer her in the States.  For most American soul artists, you may get some elements of Dojo Cuts, but there’s always something missing, typically a lack or organic instrumentation -- instead including a drum program  or a loop/sample.  That is not a worry, however, with Take From Me

    There’s no need to mention just one standout track on the album -- all of the songs on Take From Me stand out.  Good soul music…nothing beats it and thank goodness bands like Dojo Cuts are still making. Highly Recommended

    By Gabriel Rich