How – HOW can one NOT get excited about an album that was:
a) produced by Steve Almaas – of The Suicide Commandos, Beat Rodeo, solo artist and one-time Bongo/sometime Del Lord
b) recorded at Del Lord Eric “Roscoe” Ambel’s Cowboy Technical Services Recording Rig
c) mixed at Fidelatorium in Kernersville by the one and only Mitch Easter
d) This album may be possibly the last time anyone will have heard the musical voice of the wonderful Faye Hunter
Here’s that album – one time Band Of Susans guitarist, Karen Haglof (who has been an oncologist in the intervening years) steps forward with this, her debut solo album, Western Holiday. The three piece unit that recorded this fine album is Dr. Haglof handling all guitars; Mr. Almaas on bass and slide guitars and Mr. Charlie Roth laying down tight drums and piano. The sonic quality of this album is top-notch – kudos to everyone because this record lives and breathes from the moment the first notes kick in on the title track. “Righteous Anger” has a mean, bluesy and highly melodic body with a great slide guitar burning through the track; “Musician’s Girlfriend Blues” is a neat honky-tonk kind of tune; catchy and singalong. “Danger Point” has a great mid-’60’s feel with some tasty riffing; “24 Hour Prayer” has an acoustic swamp-ness to it that I love; “Lincoln Letters”‘s lead vocals are by Faye Hunter – and as rocking as this track is, I can’t help but feel a sense of pain and loss again. Her vocals are convincing and fit the vibe of the song.
All in all – this album is a total winner. It hangs together well and has warmth and toughness, sweet melodies and biting riffs. A perfect blend of great musicianship and songs that work on their own and as a single unit. I will be getting well acquainted with this album over these next few weeks.
Western Holiday is available now