Nashville's retro-soul band the Dynamites has two things going for it. The first is its leader, guitarist Leo Black (real name Bill Elder), who writes new material steeped in the traditions of 1960s and '70s soul and funk, giving the group a repertoire that is familiar but not too familiar. The second is featured lead singer Charles Walker, the 65-year-old soul veteran who gives the Dynamites a direct connection to the music and time they honor.
The Dynamites and ecstatic frontman Charles Walker succeed in its retro act because, while the band is strongly grounded in classic soul and Walker got his start in the ‘60s, the band does its own thing. A track like Burn It Down‘s “Somebody’s Got It Better (Somebody’s Got It Worse)” might reveal a love for uptempo James Brown, but the high-energy performances are more current than a nostalgic trip. The group can put down a groove (“Do the Right Thing”), but the band is at its best when forgoing the heavy funk in favor of a more rollicking approach.