Album Review: Van Gordon Martin Band Releases ‘Take The High Road’

After releasing their first album, No Limit to Love in 2010 and touring with the Skatalites throughout the United States, making stops at major music festivals like South by Southwest and Austin City Limits, the Van Gordon Martin Band has returned with “Take the High Road”, 12 tracks of funk-infused R&B and dub reggae. This eclectic blend of genres is a result of Martin’s role as a guitarist for number of other groups, including The Dub Down Crew & Scotch Bonnet Band, Sparkplug Tribute to Melvin Sparks, and The Nephork! All-Starts.

Van Martin, second from left in hat
Van Martin, second from left in hat

Martin’s experience playing with a wide range of musicians influenced the recording process of Take the High Road, as the album features appearances from members of John Brown’s Body, Club D’elf, The Slip, Dub Appocalype, Otis Grove, and former Spiritual Rez horn alumni. These musicians, who contribute funked-out bass riffs, heavy horn sections, and groovy drum beats are some of the best that the east coast has to offer.

Together, they have created an album that explores an array of musical styles. Between the breezy “Another World,” featuring clean guitar riffs and a smooth saxophone solo, and the jazzy organ-filled “Hard Decision,” which transitions into a reggae a influenced chorus driven by off-beat guitar licks, Take the High Road provides 43 minutes of crafty musicianship and epic jams.

Key Tracks: “Dreams,” “Another World,” “Hard Decision”

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