Not sure where I even start with this one. Imagine all of your favorite food on one plate. In Theory is the musical equivalent of that. There are seven tasty dishes that any fan of rock, soul, and blues will surely gorge themselves on.
Guitarist Mike Mostert and vocalist Tony Covino have written these songs to perfectly accommodate the elements that define their sound, and they’ve gotten some legendary talent to bring all of it to life. Aside from Mostert’s great feel and expertise with the guitar and Covino’s saucy, soulful, and gripping vocals, In Theory brings talent like Missing Persons and Frankie Valli drummer Andy Sanesi and incomparable Muscle Shoals keyboardist Clayton Ivey. The ever-present Hammond B3 that vibrates and shakes through this record is spellbinding. Ivey is a legendary player because of his ability to play, but he’s also legendary because he knows when not to play. The wailing strains of his organ are perfectly placed, so when you hear them you also feel them slither down your spine. Clayton Ivey and his contribution may very well be the plate that these seven tasty songs sit upon.
Vocalist Tony Covino is a powerhouse. Plain and simple. Talents like Paul Rodgers, David Coverdale, and Graham Bonnet come to mind when I think about voices that are driven by their soul. Covino has that same fire. So, when Covino is alone inside a song as he is with “Memories,” he’s very effective. But when he’s joined by Stevie Wonder singer LaNesha Latimer, it feels like a religious experience taking place at the peak of Mt. Sinai. Latimer is the perfect seasoning and spice wherever she appears, and she is heard in generous amounts here. Between Latimer and some additional choir singers (which include Cindy Walker, an original Shoals sister), the soul of this record is something to behold.
The bulk of this music was recorded at East Avalon Recorders in Muscle Shoals, with mastering done by the brilliant Maor Applebaum (Yes, Dream Theater, etc.). Some other names that appear in the credits of the record are drummer Vinny Appice (Black Sabbath, Dio, etc.) and Grammy winner Colin Lott on bass. The list of worthy contributors is endless here, and the sound and spirit of the songs reflect every drop of the talent involved.
Whether it’s the swampy blues of “The River,” the amped up heaviness of “Heroes,” or the poignant tenderness of “Memories,” there is a buffet of gourmet treats to feast on here. Sit down at the table, say some grace, and use this heavy record to gain some musical weight.