Ross Osteen Band – Williwaw
CD: 10 Songs, 41:00 Minutes
Styles: Guitar Monster Blues, Contemporary Electric Blues Rock, All Original Songs
As any artist will tell you (including myself), creation is hard work. Sometimes it’s so strenuous that in the process of making something others will enjoy, artists forget to enjoy themselves. Not the Ross Osteen Band from North Carolina. On their third album, Williwaw, guitarist and vocalist Osteen, drummer Patrick Gaynor, and bassist Jim Vint let themselves loose and have an absolute blast. On ten original tracks, they bring guitar-roaring fun to the blues, not giving a darn about vocal techno-tricks or slick studio production. Keeping things simple is a plus. A minus is that in focusing almost exclusively on guitar, other musical aspects like lyrics and backup instrumentation aren’t as memorable. Nevertheless, their energy and spirits are stratosphere-high. Osteen’s voice, reminiscent of John Fogerty’s, would be great at belting “Fortunate Son.”
Born in western North Carolina, Ross developed his style from an eclectic mix ranging from bluegrass to rock. He’s played shows with blues notables such as Jimmy Thackery, Kim Wilson, and Buddy Guy (the band even has a July gig at Buddy Guy’s Legends). The trio’s driving pulse, however, is drummer Patrick Gaynor, who grew up in New York. He was seduced by the Southern rock of the Allman Brothers. After teaming up with compatriot Jim Vint, the rest is history. Jim had never known Patrick before the band’s formation in 2014, and this bassist holds their sound together solidly. In the five years since then, they’ve been making a surefire splash.
The following song contains an intro that shows just how much Osteen’s guitar shines.
Track 07: “Willie G” – Ross channels John Fogerty most clearly here, his angst and passion as he sings, “I ain’t worried ‘bout what anybody believe.” Even Millennials will call his shredder intro and solos “fire” (just “fire,” not “on fire”). Even though this song runs three minutes and forty-eight seconds, it seems shorter, with more of a punch. When Osteen says that his hero Willie G has “got the whole crowd jumping,” that’s a sign Osteen himself should play it before live audiences as much as possible.
Williwaw is loud, proud, and will please a crowd!