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Customer Reviews

Country Blues with a Modern Twist

The Hound Kings' debut album, Unleashed, has one foot firmly planted in the realm of rural blues while the other pivots the acoustic trio into a more modern sensibility that deals with 21st century economic realities. "SSI Blues", the opening track, perfectly exemplifies this. Vocalist Alabama Mike wryly comments on current hard times while Anthony Paule on guitar and harp man Scot Benton lay down country-style blues as old as the genre itself. Part lament and part celebration of our social safety net, it's enough to set a Tea Party fan to ranting.

A standout track with a more modern bent is "The Thang". Built around a soul song structure, it's the story of a guy in a downward spiral, caught in the clutches of a working girl. Similarly, You Got Issues departs from the 12-bar structure as Alabama Mike itemizes his woman's bad relationship habits. With their spirited reading of the Mississippi Fred McDowell chestnut, "You Gotta Move" (the CD's only cover tune) the Hound Kings return to their country-blues home base.

Alabama Mike possesses a high, keening voice that suggests plenty of living, both in tribulation and celebration. His backing duo are sure-footed. Paule provides driving rhythms and supportive melodic accompaniment that never crowd the singer. Benton's harp is consistently tasteful, concisely commenting on the vocals. Collectively, the trio has come up with nine original songs that mourn the hard times and commemorate the good ones—a bittersweet mix that should delight the acoustic blues fan.

R&B for the 2015s

I must say I'm very impressed. I love the blues, and not so much R&B because it seems dated. This is not. The musicians are fresh and keep a smooth tempo, and the lyrics are creative. I haven't bought the whole album yet... but am going to. You will not be disappointed.

Unleashed, The Hound Kings
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Customer Ratings

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