New Blues: The Hogtown Allstars — ‘Hog Wild’

The Hogtown Allstars — Hog Wild

Label: Stony Plain Records

“Looks like we had a goods time,

Everybody was feelin’ fine,

The band was hot, the people were cool,

No booze, or broken rules…”

(from “Real Good Night”)

The Hogtown Allstars, a group of award-winning Canadian blues musicians, are making their debut as a band, with the release of their first album Hog Wild.

Some of the most experienced players in the blues world, the Hogtown Allstars’s seven band members are Downchild Blues Band’s Chuck Jackson (vocals and harp), Pat Carey (sax), Gary Kendall (bass and vocals), Jim Casson (drums), Tyler Yarema (keys), and two former Maple Blues Band members, Teddy Leonard (guitar) and Howard Moore (trumpet). Individually and in their previous bands, these players have won more than 20 Maple Blues Awards, 5 Juno Awards and numerous international blues and jazz music awards.

So how is the album? It’s an exuberant cool and fun album with eight highly agreeable original songs and two covers that challenge the players into exciting new territory. The album covers it all, from honky tonk diversion, to gritty blues lamentation, to soulful introspection. Each song is given an arrangement that embraces its essence, with ample opportunities for sparkling solo musicianship as a guiding force. Chuck Jackson’s harp communication is definitely the event’s Emcee.

My personal favorite track is “Biscuits and Beans,” a declaration of truth, using the habits of a life lived on the road as an example. Sometimes a deceptively simple songs can reveal the true aptitude of an artist. That is the case here, and the performance proves the expertise of The Hogtown Allstars.

Put the album on and turn it up. You’re bound to have a real good night.

Track List:

1. Mr. Lucky
2. Hog Wild
3. Real Good Night
4. I Just Think Of You
5. Angel In My Bed
6. Subway Casanova
7. The Sad One
8. Biscuits & Beans
9. She’s Got The Stuff
10. I Ain’t Lyin’

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