In a city where a “young musician” is usually hovering around thirty or forty years old, to watch some videos without the bells and whistles, but bristling with the untapped talent and potential of Case Sensitive comprising Hong Kong-based Australian teenage brothers- Saxon and Jarvis Whittaker- put a smile on this face. For a change, it wasn’t a wry one.
Living in Discovery Bay with their parents- Dad is my longtime mate and truly world class saxophonist Blaine Whittaker, Mum Gillian is a teacher and, well, runs a lot- there had been a few videos of the two brothers shown rehearsing that was alright for what it was. But, for some reason, going to their Facebook page yesterday and watching a couple of videos where they’re playing ‘live’, one saw a massive improvement in their playing skills and, what’s key, potential. Lots of it.
Yes, there are thousands of young and technically very good versions of BB King, Steve Vai and other great bluesmen and Rock guitarists out there. But what the Whittaker brothers have on their side is that they also sing. And being able to sing almost always leads to writing one’s own material.
This is, no doubt, going to be the next phase in the career of these two boys- songwriting. It’s a very important phase. A case sensitive and a case priority.
For example, though seemingly having everything going for them, the female guitar duo Larkin Poe whose videos I enjoy watching have never passed releasing videos of them playing covers- very good covers.
There’s been the occasional original release, but none have really helped the girls crack it. Perhaps the girls are more than happy with what they have and where they’re at?
What Case Sensitive has got on their side is that they’re young enough to grow old enough- meaning one can see both brothers easing into being very good musicians as they near twenty and over. And to evolve, they must leave Hong Kong.
This has nothing to do with the madness that’s turned this city into a leaderless playground for unhinged zombies. It’s to do with Hong Kong hardly being the place for two young Westerners to get anywhere when it comes to music, especially performing original material and knowing just how to keep this music fresh and not taking any derivative routes. There’s simply no one with the business and creative nous in Hong Kong to take them to the next part of their musical journey.
Sure, use the time here to make the gigs that come their way something like batting practice in the nets. But to continue with the cricket analogy, in order to get out there to the centre of the pitch and make themselves known- and heard- it’s about working with a mentor outside of Australasia with a proven track record in the music industry. There’s no one in Hong Kong who comes even close to fitting that role. Either that, or, somehow, find a way to get someone like Jack White to offer some guidance. Where there’s a will there’s a way.
Jarvis and Saxon Whittaker need a young thinking team around them that won’t, for example, take them down any Blues purist route, but those who can help hone their songwriting skills and keep them improving their ‘live’ performances outside of Hong Kong.
The objective is to become an international success that could be theirs for the asking. Most of the necessary parts are certainly all there.
Enjoy them while you can, Hong Kong. Case Sensitive is not going to be here for much longer. You can bet on it.
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