Mutlu releases “Good Trouble”
Mutlu’s album release Good Trouble boasts only seven songs, but the first generation American of Turkish descent, based out of Philadelphia, manages to encompass a wealth of musical color over the course of a little over half a dozen tracks. He is an obviously polished songwriter, the result of apparent dedication to his craft and vast experience working with some of the most talented songwriters and sharing stages with many of the best performers in popular music today. He has appeared more often on Daryl Hall’s acclaimed television program “Live at Daryl’s House” than any other performer and has performed in support of Hall and Oates at countless live shows. The confidence coming off Good Trouble is audible from the first listen – it doesn’t figuratively beat its chest and try overwhelming listeners but, instead, flies under the radar a little with style to burn, but plenty of substance defining the release as well.
The substance is on display from the first track. Mutlu begins the release with an impressive one-two punch kicking off with “Lifeline”. Memorable percussion propels Good Trouble forward, but there’s a sense of artful restraint tempering the anthem-like aspects of the performance. Mutlu really digs into the song’s lyrics and his rhythmic vocal phrasing matches the arrangement well. The soulful soar of his voice helps embed this song in listener’s memory and some understated acoustic guitar provides excellent instrumental support. I really enjoy the drumming for the reggae influenced second tune “Not Escapable” – there’s something about the track that reminds me of a mellower Sublime without ever aping the former band’s sound and songwriting style in a heavy handed way. The drumming never hits too hard, but man, this song swings from the first and takes brief stops throughout the course of the arrangement that makes the track even more dramatic.
Mutlu brings out some wah wah guitar for an instrumental break on the third track “95 to 5” and the scat-singing during the song helps underline its commercial potential. All of the tracks on this album have that sort of potential, but few manifest it in such a clear way like “95 to 5” does and Mutlu delivers a vocal performance full of zest and inspiration. “Nothing in This Whole Wide World” enlists the vocal talents of John Oates in support of Mutlu’s exceptional voice. The vocal arrangement for this song is pure Philly soul and probably the best example of the vocal prowess defining much of the release. Oates’ contributions help put this song over the top.
“Oh My Girl” has some more excellent electric guitar playing just after its half way point and it helps close the release on a strong note. Good Trouble’s seven tracks have something different to offer each time out and it is one of those rare albums that holds up under repeated listens. Mutlu’s talents are abundant and the sense that he’s just getting started is comes across in a strong way throughout the course of the entire album.