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Aaron Williams and the Hoodoo - 10:49

Self Release

10 songs; 44 minutes

Styles: Electric Blues Rock

Each CD that Blues Blast Magazine receives is a surprise package. It's a mystery that can only be solved by peeling off the plastic wrap and revealing the music inside. Judging by the sunlit-forest cover art of “10:49,” the second release from Aaron Williams and the Hoodoo, one might expect a religious, inspirational album. However, the inspiration found within these ten explosive songs is one to party, and the only gospel proclaimed is that of blues rock! If one prefers raw energy over esoteric lyrics and guitar volume over guitar tricks, then the Hoodoo's “voodoo” will definitely cast a spell.

“Boom Boom” starts 10:49 off with the bang of rat-a-tat drums and power slide guitar. It's gleeful and disjointed, although one might wish the instrumentation was more precise as Williams sneers, “Boom, boom, shot you down!” on the chorus.

If that leaves listeners blinking in shell-shock, they'll be delightfully distracted by the band's cover of D. Bartholomew and C. Kenner's “Sick and Tired.” Frustrated by his lazy lover, the narrator of this smoking peppery song laments, “I cook in the evening. You're still in bed—got a rag tied around your head. Whoa, baby!”

More vim and vigor comes from drummer Eric Shackelford's “Red Head Women.” Not only does it feature the catchiest refrain of any number on “10:49,” but also Jimmy Voegli's blazing piano.

The title track is the CD's most traditional blues song, and most evocative. Aaron Williams plays some keening acoustic-resonator slide guitar setting up Ken Olfus guest-starring on equally-powerful vocals and harmonica.

“Tease Me, Please Me” is a lesson for the ladies, and “She's Good at What She Does” shows what might happen if they follow it. This final track is brutally honest: “She's good at what she does. I wouldn't ever call it love. We get together because—she's good at what she does.” From first note to last, none of the musicians ever let up on the voltage!

Aaron Williams and the Hoodoo have been a traveling trio since 2008, with their first compilation, “It Ain't Easy,” bringing many awards. The band was nominated for Blues Artist of the Year by the Wisconsin Area Music Industry and six Madison Area Music Awards, walking away with five (including the highly-coveted Artist of the Year). Aaron Williams and the Hoodoo prove that the magic and the mystery of their work are simply waiting to be discovered nationwide. They're eclectic, they're electric, and they're energetic!

Reviewer Rainey Wetnight is a 31-year-old female Blues fan. She brings the perspective of a younger blues fan to reviews. A child of 1980s music, she was strongly influenced by her father’s blues music collection.

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