Mojo Dub
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Mojo Dub

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"Mojo Dub elevates jam"

Mojo Dub elevates jam

By Emma Downs

The Journal Gazette

The band will release a self-titled album at the end of February. The 12-track album will be available at shows and Wooden Nickel locations.

On stage, local fusion-jam band Mojo Dub seems to enjoy teetering on the brink of musical disaster. Drums spiral. Bass lines corkscrew their way through the loop and waggle of the guitar. Eventually, you just have to stop and wonder whether it's all too good to be true. When will it all go horribly, horribly wrong?

"That's the thrill of it," percussionist Mike Shorter says. "When you improvise, you're always a hair away from a train wreck. You're always wondering, what if we're not on the same page here? What if the worst happens?"

It could go wrong. But it rarely does. The band – Shorter, bassist Andres Gil and guitarist Joe Wurtsmith – are able to pepper their sets with time signature changes, rhythmic shifts and nods to their diverse range of musical influences with the alacrity and exactness of a flock of starlings.

"The three of us have an unspoken musical chemistry," Wurtsmith says. "And for being acoustic, we're pretty intense. We're not strummy and folky. As far as the rhythm goes, we're pretty in your face."

Although maintaining acoustic roots, the band's music is a far cry from the lackluster hippie jams of some jam bands. Rich with tactile drumming and percussion work – conga, djenbe, cajone – the band wears its musical restlessness like a badge of honor, employing a wide range of styles on traditionally folksy instruments. And despite being the product of an acoustic outfit, the music is subtle, deftly layered and played with uncanny technical prowess.

"There is some limitation with our instrumentation," Wurtsmith says. "But at the same time, there's a lot more space and opportunity. There are more tones you can get from an acoustic guitar. More subtleties – scratches, string pops. And you almost have to be more nimble, more precise with an acoustic guitar."

"Each song sounds different," says Gil, who also plays with the Fort Wayne Philharmonic. "I've been very conscious of employing a different timbre on each song, so that no song sounds the same way twice."

Currently, the band is gearing up to release a self-titled album at the end of February. Composed of 12 songs, a few tracks were recorded live to give the listener the full Mojo Dub experience, Shorter says.

"We're a performing band, a live band," he says. "And it's difficult to get that same result – the act of creating something new – on an album. So we're representing that aspect of the band on the album with live tracks."

After taking the summer off, the band has recently begun booking local gigs, hoping to win over audiences who assume jam bands must come with a patchouli smell.

"Stereotyping a jam band is just silly," Shorter says. "Every good band can jam. Led Zeppelin did a 30-minute version of 'Dazed and Confused,' and no one ever called them a jam band. Jamming, to me, is creating music, improvising, making something new. Every good band I've ever seen can do that." - The Journal Gazzette


New Album due out 4/08



Acoustic music never rocked this much....from calypso to latin, from hip-hop to funk, Mojo Dub is a soulful three piece from good ol' Indiana. Formed and fronted by Joe Dub in 2004, this group has been steadily taking the Midwest by storm. Mike Shorter and Dre Gil, make up the rest of this all star team. Dre the backbone and upright bassist, has been touring and playing professionally for 25 years. Mike Shorter is the beats and the genius groove behind the Mojo Dub operation. Specializing in bringing island style soul and acoustic-urban jam to the party, their live show is one you won't forget.