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Hunter Wolfe & ARE – The Go

Self Release

13 tracks; 43.09 minutes

Hunter Wolfe comes from Tulsa and is a champion on National Slide guitar. He has twice performed at the IBCs and is now resident in Virginia where this, his first album, was recorded. The album is primarily a duo affair with a female drummer who goes by the moniker ARE and co-wrote all the songs with Hunter. However, this is definitely a plugged in duo with intense drumming and slide, somewhat reminiscent of The White Stripes. Indeed, one track is entitled “Mr White”! All the songs are original and the only other musicians on the CD apart from Hunter and ARE are Cassie Taylor who plays bass on three tracks and sings on one and Jackie Scott, Lamar and LeeTee who each sing on one track.

Most of the songs are relentlessly up-tempo with busy drums and frenetic slide guitar. “Make You Mine” is probably the most typical of that approach whilst “Aberdeen” is one of the few quiet tracks and the only one on which ARE takes a break. Without the drums and at a slower pace we can hear Hunter’s breathy, almost spoken vocals well on a song that gives a dark impression of life in that Mississippi town. Another of the slower paced songs is “Guiding Light” the lyrics of which feature on the CD sleeve though I was puzzled by the chorus: “I don’t mind looking like Superman, when it comes to you, I’ll do all I can. Cause you know you are my kryptonite and I will always be your guiding light.” I listened several times to “McKinley Morganfield" to try to discover the Muddy link, but could only find a rather repetitive song about ‘going home’, so the reason for the title escaped me.

Track 5 is “Midnight Heat” on which Cassie Taylor’s bass and Jackie Scott’s vocals add to the basic format. Jackie’s voice is always a pleasure to hear and this was one of the tracks that I preferred. It’s a song about love and lust and Hunter takes the opportunity of a larger ensemble to throw down some tasty guitar licks, doubletracking himself over the basic riff. The other two tracks on which Cassie plays are “Letter”, on which she duets with Hunter in her light and pleasant voice, and “Your Death (Is Killing Me)”. Guest vocalist Lamar’s contribution is a rap on “On The Tracks” which did nothing for me, I’m afraid. LeeTee duets with Hunter on the final track “50’sKay” which starts as a cover of “Chevrolet” then transforms into a version in which the object of desire is a guitar (50’s Kay) rather than a car! No drums on this one as ARE and Hunter produce the rhythm with handclaps and footstomps.

Interestingly the information supplied with the CD suggests that this is “Blues/Rock/Garage” and will appeal to fans of The White Stripes, Black Keys, Cage The Elephant, Band Of Skulls and Crash Kings. Also mentioned in this section are the more familiar names of Robert Johnson, Son House and David Honeyboy Edwards. It will appeal to those who enjoy some of the acts mentioned above, particularly those at the start of the list.

Reviewer John Mitchell is a blues enthusiast based in the UK.  He also travels to the States most years to see live blues music and is currently planning a visit to the Tampa Bay Blues Festival.

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