Singer-songwriter Gregg Inhofer (piano, organ, guitar), to say the least, gets around pretty good. To the extent that even if you haven’t heard him, if you’ve been anywhere near Twin Cities music over the past year, you had to’ve heard of him playing somewhere or other every time you turn around. Fact is, the man is a well-respected veteran of going on half a century with a reputation he certainly didn’t fall in his lap out of a box of Crackerjacks.
From popular late 60s rock outfit Pepper Fog, he went on to the jazz fusion band This Oneness formed, which shortly wound up criss-crossing the US on tour with Olivia Newton-John, including a 1975 spot on Midnite Special (NBC), back when broadcast television still was a such a big deal, every band and artist, no matter how major, would kill to be on that show. Like more than a few legends (think Al Kooper, Leon Russell), Inhofer worked his ass off as a session ace in career that eventually notched the highly enviable credit of playing on Bob Dylan’s fabled comeback triumph Blood On The Tracks (trivia note, he also played behind Jesse Ventura and former Herman’s Hermits frontman Peter Noone). For good measure, Inhofer is a member of the Minnesota Rock and Country Music Hall of Fame.
So, it goes without saying, the guy has chops. Making it no surprise that Music for the Upright Walking (succeeding his debut Inside) is strong. Inhofer’s vast experience indeed is evident, calling on a hodgepodge of influences to come up with a sound that ranges from pop (“Let Me Be The One”, “Love One Another”) to rock (“Problems”) to jazz (“The Broken Bossa”) and back with a stopover or two at folk and blues running through several cuts. The melodies are marvelous, richly varied, imaginative to the point of being adventurous. His playing is clean as a cat’s whiskers. The vocals are sharp, putting you in mind more than a few times, of Donald Fagen. The only place Inhofer fouls up is with an inexplicably pretentious take on The Jimi Hendrix Experience classic “Manic Depression”. No worries. Skip that cut and enjoy the rest of this solid outing from a gifted artist.
Photo credit Gregg Inhoffer