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CTA (California Transit Authority): Sacred Ground

A few years back, former drummer of legendary band Chicago, Danny Seraphine, said that it was time to bring the classic sounds of that band back into the modern age (no doubt a stab at the music his former bandmates have been making over the last two decades) and formed CTA, in this instance standing for the California Transit Authority. Along with veteran guitarist Marc Bonilla (Keith Emerson/Glenn Hughes), keyboard players Ed Roth & Peter Fish, bass player Mick Mahan, and vocalist Larry Braggs, CTA released their debut Full Circle, which was a great start but mostly contained covers and a few old Chicago staples. Other than some guest horn & reed players, CTA beefs up a lot of their sound with keyboards, but still manage to hone in on the style of the classic Chicago Transit Authority. Now, they are back with their second album, this time delivering mostly new, original material on Sacred Ground.

Instead of Braggs covering all the vocals (he's here, but only on a few tracks), the band instead have brought on a host of guest singers, including Bill & Will Champlin (who both sound fantastic), Wes Quave, and Eric Redd, with Bonilla also handling some lead vocals as well. There are also quite a few guest musicians who contribute trumpet, trombone, sax, flute, and flugelhorn. The results are pretty slick and true to the trademark Chicago sound, with big sounding tracks "Primetime", "Sacred Ground", and "Staring at the Sun" filled with bombastic horns, Bonilla's crisp guitar licks, catchy hooks, and powerful vocals. "In the Kitchen" is another upbeat, funky rocker, with some great percussion, and the band's take on the Chicago classic "Take Me Back to Chicago" is very well done, featuring a stellar Braggs vocal and some sweet Seraphine grooves.

Sacred Ground is a fun affair, filled with tight musical performances and solid vocals. Though there are a few too many ballads here (I thought the point was to get away from what Chicago was doing too much of?), they are well done and in a perfect world the band could easily score some pop airplay with them. Despite that, a good album that shows that CTA can do more than cover old Chicago songs.

Track Listing
1) Sacred Ground
2) The Real World
3) I Love You More Than You'll Ever Know
4) Out of Reason
5) Primetime
6) Conviction (Song For Ronnie)
7) Strike
8) Chorale
9) Full Circle
10) Staring at the Sun
11) In the Kitchen
12) Take Me Back to Chicago
13) Go On
14) Daydream Lover

Added: May 14th 2013
Reviewer: Pete Pardo
Related Link: Band Website
Hits: 2464
Language: english

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