Spanning almost 2 years of production, The Motor City Horns’ debut album, Local Boys, showcases their versatility as a horn section and the musical diversity of Detroit, featuring 48 musicians (not on the same track!) in a variety of styles including Rock, Pop, R&B, Blues, Funk, Soul, and Jazz. Highlights include Brian Vander Ark from The Verve Pipe and appearances by background singers and sidemen from Bob Seger’s Silver Bullet Band and Kid Rock’s Twisted Brown Trucker. This album has something for everyone!


Local Boys

The Motor City Horns featuring Brian Vander Ark

It wouldn’t be a horn album without a fanfare….and the title track starts off with just that having the horns set up the vocals. Brian Vander Ark writes, “Originally, the song was called Local Boys Done Good. It was a true story of how I got locked out of the State Theater in Kalamazoo before a Verve Pipe show because I didn’t have a wrist band. Then, it tells of our fast fall from fame. Side note: The first time I played the demo for the president of RCA, he stopped tapping his foot when he heard the line, “The record rep, well he must have overslept…”, clearly unhappy. Ah, well…”


Smoke and Mirrors

The Motor City Horns featuring Michael King

Mark Byerly’s horn arrangement on this song allows the horns to experiment with effects and truly “mirror” Michael King’s apocalyptical lyrics. The horn soli half way through pays homage to Tower of Power with a modern twist. Michael King writes, “Smoke and Mirrors began as an instrumental track I was fiddling with in the studio. I was mixing programmed elements with various guitar riffs. When I was asked to contribute a song to this project, I decided to turn it into a song. While the lyrics are a bit apocalyptic, it’s really a positive song; suggesting that there are always creative ways out of a bind. After all, isn’t that what musicians do with music all the time?”

Kissing My Love

The Motor City Horns featuring Thornetta Davis

Bill Wither’s song with the unique stamp of Thornetta Davis and the horns!


Cadillac Blues

The Motor City Horns featuring Johnnie Bassett

Songwriter Bob Codish says of his song, “A Cadillac has long been considered a sign of success in American culture. For many it is the ultimate status symbol. What better reward for a downtrodden bluesman than to drive into his old neighborhood in a gleaming new Fleetwood? I also snuck in a reference to Chuck Berry’s “No Money Down” with “broke down ragged Ford”, and a salute to Willie Dixon with “built for comfort, not for speed”. Stealing lyrics from your forebears is a time-honored blues tradition and I guess I’m just continuing this larceny/tribute and having a lot of fun with it.”


Superman Lover

The Motor City Horns and The Brothers Groove

“Superman Lover” (by the late great Johnny “Guitar” Watson, an under-rated genius of Funk, Blues, and R&B) is both an audience favorite and a personal one, to both the horns and The Brothers Groove. This song always brings people to their feet to dance, move and get funky. It was a natural fit for my (Chris Codish) voice and I loved the lyrics. The video shoot for this song was a blast and the crowd and the band loved getting funky to it.”


Casual Observer

The Motor City Horns and The Brothers Groove

The horns float over this melody on Chris Codish’s song. He writes, “I wanted ‘Casual Observer’ to sound like something you’d hear while you were driving around Belle Isle on a warm night. The tune takes some inspiration from the slower tempo instrumental grooves that appeared in the late 70’s on great radio stations like WJZZ. Those songs melded layered rhythmic grooves with hip chords and a memorable melody, and that’s what I was going for.”


The Introduction

The Motor City Horns featuring Savallace and Paradime

John Rutherford writes, “I asked Wayne Gerard to come up with an old school hip-hop track for the horns to open up on and to feature Paradime and Savallace, whose only direction was to make the lyrics about Detroit…and they came through big time.


Cross Section

The Motor City Horns and Bop Culture

Mark Byerly notes, “This tune actually started life as a bass line that had been floating around in my head. The drum groove came along when I first got my new kit and began experimenting with recording it. When the idea came about to include a track on the CD featuring my band, Bop Culture, I thought this would be the perfect opportunity to fuse my groove and the live band, with the horns tying it all together – hence the title, Cross Section.”


Crash Save The Pieces

The Motor City Horns featuring Liz Larin

“I just love a good groove”, writes Liz Larin. “I had the title phrase ‘crash, save the pieces’ in my head thinking about a couple of key people I’ve met who have seemed to want to convince everyone that they have it all and are totally on top of things. But somehow you can ‘feel’ their crash coming on and you hope they will be OK. Also, coming up as a musician in Detroit I learned the power a good groove, how the the layers can fit over each other and grow as the song builds. The Motor City Horns nailed the groove and feel and added a powerful dimension to this track, taking it to another level. Great fun!”



The Motor City Horns and Bump

Yorg from Bump writes, “‘Appollonia’ is a worldbeat song that BUMP has been performing for 2 years. It never fit on any album and we always knew that the song needed a lot of percussion and a BIG horn section, which the Motor City Horns perfectly executed. It is about a half Greek and half Italian woman who is so beautiful that you put up with her issues. Larry Frantangelo’s percussion along with the female backing vocals of Liz Larin, Janice Franco and Barb Payton make ‘Appollonia’ an Afro/Brazilian/Greek masterpiece.”


The Mooche

The Motor City Horns and The Hot Club of Detroit

‘The Mooche’ is one of Duke Ellington’s classics. The mooche was a slow, shuffling dance that African-Americans from the South brought to New York. Ellington wrote this haunting melody in 1928 and it has been played by the band ever since.



The Motor City Horns featuring Barbara Payton

It made total sense for The Motor City Horns (Bob Seger and The Silver Bullet Band’s horn section) to team up with Barb Payton (background singer with Seger and Kid Rock)…and what better than covering (for the first time) a Seger underground classic, ‘Lucifer’. Seger’s song was first featured on the album Mongrel. It reached #84 on the Pop Singles chart in 1970 and is considered by many to be one of this best.


Remember Me

The Motor City Horns and RJ’s Rhythm Rockers featuring Alberta Adams

Alberta Adams, Detroit’s Queen of the Blues, wrote this song years ago, but re-recorded for this album at the age of 90! Truly an honor to have her included on this album. We will always remember Alberta Adams.


If You Love Someone

The Motor City Horns and The Howling Diablos

Tino Martin Gross writes, “The lyrics to ‘If You Love Someone’ really speak for themselves, but the song is a throwback to an earlier time when music reflected a more positive spiritual vibe. Influences would be Sly Stone, Edwin Starr, John Lennon, Motown and Gospel music. It speaks to a basic need we all have to treat people the way you want to be treated, and spread as much love as you can, through the FUNK, of course!”



The Motor City Horns and RJ’s Rhythm Rockets featuring Alberta Adams

A great closer for the album. The lyrics speak for themselves: “I like Chicago; I gotta get back to Detroit.” Written by the east side of Detroit’s very own Eddie Burns.