By Sean Palmerston
For those previously uninitiated, The Bakerton Group is one with connections to long running Maryland riff rockers Clutch. Very close connections in fact: TBG essentially is an instrumental version of the band where singer Neil Fallon trades in his microphone for a guitar, creating a twin-lead guitar tandem with Clutch’s regular six-stinger, Tim Sult, while Opeth’s Per Wiberg sits in for this album on keyboards, concentrating mostly on electric piano and some very tasty Hammond B-3 organ. The band has been making music under this moniker on-and-off since the late 90s, but El Rojo is only their second full-length album. While Clutch traditionally is known for its forays into hard rock and metal, the all-instrumental Bakerton goes off onto other musical tangents that are also engaging although they can be very different from their main gig. El Rojo finds the group heading succinctly into jamband territory, creating an engaging mixture of funk, blues and classic rock that gives the musicians lots of room to breathe and let their musical chops shine. If the word instrumental makes you think of guitar shred stuff like Joe Satriani or Steve Vai then think again, because you definitely have another thing coming here. TBG has more in common with New Orleans funk legends the Meters or the Allman Brothers at their funkiest than anything closely related to metal but, having said that, there’s more than enough interesting stuff here in El Rojo‘s ten tracks to keep the more adventurous metal and hard rock fans satisfied too.