“Man, ya know, once you really start getting into it and really studying the nuances of what some of these guys did in laying the groundwork for all of us in rock and music in general; it’s heavy, it’s a heavy thing.”
Tony Cardenas-Montana recognizes the contributions of the blues players who came before those in rock music today and they are not lost on this current member of Jack Russell’s Great White as he debuts his new project; Shadow & The Thrill.
Revisiting material which he had from his past and combining it with some freshly written works, Tony knew that there was only one guy he wanted to work with; someone whom he had great respect for and that was drummer Brentt James Arcement.
“I’ve known Brentt, he was living here in California for many years and I’ve had a couple of projects out here where I’ve gotten to play with him and work with him a little bit and as a drummer it’s not unlike any other relationship; you just kind of click and there’s some kind of back and forth that happens and I always felt like he was one of the greatest drummers that I’d ever played with and certainly have ever seen,” he stated enthusiastically. “He’s got just a certain attention to the groove of a piece of music that really clicks with me and whatever my sense is in that arena; so we started playing and then he moved back to New Orleans which is his home about eight years ago. So when I started doing these songs; I wrote all of this music and decided that I wanted to record it and I thought this is the guy that I want to work with so I guess I’m going to New Orleans (laughs). So that’s how it all started, I started flying back and forth and we started working in this studio there called “The Music Shed” and boy what a pool of talent in the New Orleans area! I got to play with some really great folks and have some great collaborators and people who shared their gift with us. Tony Hall, a great bass player who has played with The Neville Brothers and George Clinton; he was just a monster and some of the female background singers were just amazing. What a great vibe, I love New Orleans and always have, it’s for real.”
With the decision made to move forward in the recording process the album and the pair needed a name; Cardenas-Montana explained how they both came about.
“I’ve been doing some recordings outside of my normal day job which is former member of the band Great White. Currently I tour with Jack the singer; so that’s my day job so to speak and when I started doing these songs my manager and I thought that we really should come up with some kind of name for this thing rather than name it “Jack’s Solo Project.” He is a big radio historian and he loves all of those old radio shows from back in the day when that’s all people had; so there’s “The Shadow” which is an old radio show and we wanted to give a nod to the blues because that’s kind of where we come from so, “The Thrill” is a nod to B.B. King and “The Thrill is Gone” because B.B., well, he was the man.”
“Sugerbowl” is the not only the title of the album but also of the single released late in 2019. Tony is quite pleased with the full length product which has been well received in the U.S and abroad as well; garnering “Song Of the Week” honors from the classic rock publication Louder.com / Classicrock.com.
“There are nine tracks with a couple covers, we cover a song by Tommy Bolin who played with Deep Purple for a while; we put out a video for “Shake The Devil” which is a monster track in its own right and we even amped that up a little bit and then we covered “The Grind” which is a song that I’ve been waiting to do forever. It’s literally a hit rock track if I’ve ever heard one and I thought, man I’m gonna cover this and I’m gonna make a hit out of it; it’s amazing. Then we did a cover of Gnarls Barkley “Crazy” which I’d say is one of the stand out tracks on the album and it’s going to be our next single which is scheduled to drop in mid to late January.”
“We’re getting great Spotify numbers now and a hundred thousand plus video plays key ordered on Facebook and we just won a “Track Of The Week” with ClassicRock.com which just amazed us; we were certainly the underdogs with this thing. We were up against a bunch of acts with huge followings and label support and we actually came out on top; it was surprising but I guess we shouldn’t be too surprised because we think what we did was great but there are realities out there with numbers.”
So with momentum building; what’s next and will there be a tour of any sort?
“I think that we are really focused on the next release, the single and the next video for “Crazy;” it seems to be a combination of things for us, it definitely turned out to be a very vibey and cool sounding track. It’s a blues rock cover arrangement of that song so at first I think people will think, wait I think I know this but you don’t really know it; right? Then you realize, oh it’s that song, so we’re really excited about that; the video is done so we are just waiting to get our ducks in a row and then let it out and see what happens. The video for “Sugar Bowl” which won the Classicrock.com thing was all done in New Orleans and we shot it on location right near the Mississippi River under these two giant overpasses that lead from the eastern side of New Orleans over into the city; it’s pretty amazing looking and “Crazy” was done at The Music Shed as well.”
“We have been doing shows, one off or kind of weekend warrior shows where we fly out on a Thursday and home on a Sunday. We are always looking for opportunities to play and there’s some parts of the country that we really need to get to; we need to get to the Northeast because we seem to have pretty good support there and definitely the mid-west around the Great Lakes area which has always been good to me as a player with Great White and Jack Russell’s Great White. So we want to get out there to Michigan, Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Minnesota, Wisconsin; that whole circle right there. So we are looking forward to that and we’ve thrown our hat into the ring with a couple of different of touring acts that we think will be a good fit so we’ll see; hopefully we’ll jump on with somebody who makes sense and is complimentary to what we need.”
Beside “Sugarbowl” there’s still Jack Russell’s Great White, something he thoroughly enjoys doing and a re-release of some older solo material to keep him busy and he relished the good fortune.
“I love Jack, he and I have such long history together and we have such a wonderful live chemistry and I’m very happy to get out there and play some of my songs with the band; I’m a co-writer on some of these hits for Great White and it’s important for me to serve that legacy. So I’m going to continue to do that and I really enjoy playing that stuff and I’ll be doing this in parallel. I expect to keep doing this for as long as I get to play; I really enjoy that side of music where I get to sing and put my vibe out there and see how people are going to react and if I can have some kind of shared experience with them, I really dig that. We’ve been doing shows here in California, we just played the other night and had some friends jump up and play with us; we’re always doing that so we’re just going to keep on keepin’ on. Cleopatra Records has just re-issued my first solo album from 2000 called, “Tombstone Shuffle” so there’s a lot of music out there, it’s all just been a blessing.”
To discover more about Tony, Shadow & The Thrill or “Sugarbowl,” please visit www.shadowandthethrill.com.