By “Tampa” Earl Burton
Album Review: Sons of a Tradesman – Release date March 11, 2022
To do a concept album, you must first produce a story that draws in the listener. Then arguably comes the hard part – putting together the songs that tell the story competently. The band Sons of a Tradesman have done that in spades, telling a fascinating story with their concept album Stir the Pot after a tragedy that could have ended the band.
The West Palm Beach rockers went into the studio prior to the pandemic with the intentions of recording Stir the Pot, but life took a tragic turn. The band’s bassist, Nicolas Polycarpo, passed away and the band took a pause to decide their next moves. The decision made by vocalist Andrew Alonso, guitarist Mike Guido and drummer Chris Santiago was to move on in their fallen brother’s honor, which they did by recruiting bassist Marvin Hawkins to join the fold.
Fans of rock music should be delighted that they did! Stir the Pot is a rare album that, while paying tribute to past influences of the band members, comes out as a fresh sound in an otherwise copycat world. The quartet bring a little prog, a little blues, and a whole lot of attitude to the CD, which is critical in telling the story that they have put together.
The concept of Stir the Pot is a battle for power in a familial setting. Four brothers square off against each other to take the throne and seize control of the family’s wealth, position, and power. Each song on Stir the Pot captures one of the personalities of the sons – an Odysseus-like character who returns from a journey, a thief, a vigilante – and it creates a quilt of a plotline that entertains while you are listening to the story.
I was more pulled to the bluesier tunes on the CD myself. The very first track, “Ballad of Odysseus,” tells of one son’s return with a John Lee Hooker “ka-thunka ka-thunka” that eventually evolves into a full out rocker of a song. Likewise, “Witches Brew” also draws on this vibe, also moving from the blues realm into a jam that any rock fan can enjoy.
The concept album does have a conclusion – and I am NOT going to ruin it for you, you are just going to have to listen for yourself – and the journey to that end is an enjoyable one. A fan of any style of rock – be it prog, classic, or blues – will enjoy the work of Sons of a Tradesman. Stir the Pot is a fitting tribute to their fallen comrade, and it certainly excites you to see what they are going to do in the future.