The pandemic pause can once again be pinpointed for the creation of a quality project, this time by the Pine Cats, a duo consisting of New York City mainstays Mike Visceglia (Suzanne Vega, John Cale, Christopher Cross, Bette Midler) and guitarist/vocalist John Putnam (Madonna, Cher, Southside Johnny, John Denver). The pair’s acoustic-driven amalgam of folk, blues, and Americana on their debut disc, Bedouin Breakfast, includes the support of drummers Jerry Marotta, Josh Dion, and Dennis McDermott, Brian Mitchell on piano and organ, Olivier Manchon on violin, and Larry Campbell on mandolin. The nine-track effort is awash in Putnam’s guitar layers and relaxed lead vocals, leaving Visceglia with plenty of places to lock down the pulse, move forward melodically, and add to the rustic harmonic colors.
The opener, “Shine,” an ethereal shuffle, boasts a bass and a chordal part, both played on Mike’s Fender American Series Pro II Jazz Bass with a John East J-Retro Preamp (his main bass on the record—though he also plucks a Manhattan Prestige Session One J-Bass). For his throwback, swing-in-two instrumental, “Doxie,” Visceglia inserted foam at the bridge of his Fender for a vintage muted sound. Conversely, his bass feature instrumental, “Halcyon,” (think “Sleep Walk” for the 4-string set) bursts forth with the hues of his Jazz Bass and an El Degas fretless tuned A-D-G-C., as well as an assist from Boss Bass Chorus and Eventide H9 Max Multi-Effects Pedals. Elsewhere, “I’ll Still Be Yours” sports an Orleans vibe with a rock samba groove. The bluegrass-y title track has an exotic bass step out that turns into a key contrapuntal line. And most head-turning, “Love You More” is pure blue-eyed soul, riding Visceglia’s pickup-rich 16th-note pocket and syncopated fills. From the Catskills to the Village, the Pine Cats are pure Gotham-forged.
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