Mickey Hart Band
[Rating: 3.5 stars]
Grateful Dead drummer/percussionist Hart mirrors his band’s penchant for cheesy cover art, but that’s where the similarities end. There’s lots of cosmic speechifying in Hart’s liner notes that connects this group’s funky space/soul sound with the music of the universe (or something), yet the songs, about half with lyrics by Dead lyricist Robert Hunter, take off for the heavens because of the stellar playing, production, solid melodies and a vibrant approach that makes every track shimmer. Widespread Panic bassist Dave Schools, guitarist Gawain Matthews and especially outstanding R&B based vocalist Crystal Monee Hall (somebody sign her to a solo contract) mesh perfectly with Hart’s sounds of the galaxy vision, creating a powerful album that stands as a Dead offshoot least resembling the longstanding mothership.