Vintage #18 review…April 24, 2017….





Vintage #18 is a dynamite, powerhouse soul-blues outfit primarily based out of the Northern Virginia, Maryland, and the D. C. area.  They played the IBC’s in 2016, and were a part of the Blind Raccoon Showcase earlier this year.  Their debut album is entitled “Grit,” and it was recorded shortly after that 2016 IBC performance.

With a name like Vintage #18, the players draw from a myriad of influences, including many Stax and Chess artists. The lady on lead vocal is Robbin Kapsalis, Chicago-born and Atlanta-raised.  Her aunt Ida would play Etta, Muddy, and Koko whenever young Robbin would visit, leaving a lasting impression on her.  Along for the ride on this set is Bill Holter on the (most excellent) guitars,  Mark Chandler on bass, keys, and slide guitar, and Alex Kuldell on drums.

Robbin has one of those vocal styles that has just the right touch of sass, class, brass, and sultriness.  The Caddy’s gassed up and ready to roll right down Beale with the opener, “Diamonds Are Optional,” ’cause “one kiss will do!”  That gives way to a tale of smoldering glances from a pair of “bedroom eyes,” begging our heroine to ask “Is This Too Good to be true?–are we gonna make it, me and you?”  Robbin plays “the other woman” to the hilt on “Just Got Back From Baby’s,,” where “if his lovin’ don’t kill me,  I know his wife will!”

“Poor Me” is pure classic 926 E. McLemore, while “Circles,” is presented in two versions.  First up is a gospel-infused tale of looking for that someone to “take my hand and lead me away,” ’cause “things the way they used to be.”  The set  closes with the other version, a grittier, “down home blues” read, with the authenticity supplied by slide guitar from Mark Chandler.

Our favorite was easy.  No matter how hard we may try in a relationship, sometimes one person feels as if they are “still a Million Miles from you.'”  It’s a showcase not only for that sultry side of Robbin’s vocal, but also for the considerable guitar chops of Bill Holter, who takes two dazzling, psychedelically-charged solos in this eight minutes of bliss.

Vintage #18 draws inspiration from classic Sixties and Seventies soul with a vocalist and musicians that have a deep passion for this style of blues.  Bottom line is, “Grit” has got it goin’ on!  Until next time…Sheryl and Don Crow, The Nashville Blues Society.


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