Crackerjack Highway (Beautiful Buzz 11/8/09)
My great old friend Mark Schuh, a multi-instrumentalist who I regularly played music with in San Francisco for about five years, has got some momentum going in The City alongside virtuosic guitarist Nate Silverman in Crackerjack Highway. They’re somewhere between the edgier elements of Steely Dan and the sweeter side of Phish, with a huge helping of tasteful fusion ala Herbie Hancock and Billy Cobham. Lead guitarist Nate Silverman soars over Crackerjack’s genuinely West Coast funk-rock with his confident “talking guitar”; both Walter Becker and Frank Zappa would be proud to hear the direct and powerful influence they’ve had on the talented Silverman, who has been a San Francisco secret far too long.
But Schuh, Silverman and Co. aren’t just about wanking – they juxtapose their immense (but intricate and dynamic) prog-funk tastes with gutsy, tender lyrics sung impressively and honestly by frontman Schuh, who is at the core of Crackerjack Highway’s all-important delivery. Sometimes swerving into the other lane and freaking out the passengers along the Highway, the eccentric and multi-talented Schuh (veteran of many Bay Area jazz, rock and funk outfits) is a classic show-stopper. However, as the band’s recent Youtube showcase reveals, no one in attendance wants a Crackerjack party to end.