CD: 11 songs; 40:28 Minutes
Styles: Contemporary Rock-and-Roll and Blues Rock
“O beautiful for spacious skies, for amber waves of grain, for purple mountain majesties…” and blues rock? As this fine nation’s independence is celebrated, so is the right to “Stand Up and Raise Some Hell”! That’s exactly what Omaha, NE’s Christy Rossiter and her backup band 112 North Duck do on their fourth album since 2011.
According to their website, “[They] play a progressive, high-energy, hard-rocking, guitar-driven brand of blues.” This statement is absolutely true, although yours truly would like to point out two things. 1) “Progressive” means ‘not traditional’, so don’t go looking for any cover songs of blues masters or their signature style of playing. 2) Their website states the CD is “an eclectic blend of blues/rock and Americana music, with overtones of funk and island music.”
One can’t fault Christy and 112 North Duck for a lack of explosive passion on every song, even the ballads. Each one of the selections on this release is original, written by one or more members of the band: Rossiter on lead vocals, guitarist Michael Beebe, bassist David Beasley, guitarist and saxophonist and guitarist Billy Talacko, and drummer J.E. Van Horne. The following numbers will get crowds grooving:
Track 01: “Stand Up and Raise Some Hell” – If there were ever a blues-rock thrasher fit for an outdoor Fourth-of-July festival, this is it. The twin ‘hooks’ of Michael Beebe’s spectacular slide guitar and Christy Rossiter’s chant are instantaneous. Anyone listening will clap their hands, stomp their feet, and obey the title’s instructions to the best of their ability. The only slightly-annoying flaw in these fireworks is Christy’s holding on to the long notes a little too long.
Track 04: “Humuhumunukunukuapua’a” – The title of track four is the actual name of a Hawaiian fish. “It’s the sweetest little creature that I have ever seen, snorting like a piggy when it is feeling mean. Yellow like the sun until it’s on the run. Its name I just keep saying ‘cause it brings me so much fun.” If one still can’t say it after a couple rounds of this cheerful ditty, call it “The H Song” instead. Its chief instrumental highlight is Billy Talacko’s hot sax solo.
Track 09: “Smart Phone Junkies” – Arguably the best song on the album, the ninth one is a rant against the New Millennium’s drug of choice: “Can’t watch a movie or talk to a friend. We pay no attention to the shows we attend. We don’t have a fact or a thought in our minds. There’s no need to know, ‘cause the phone’s in our eyes.” It’s a lifelong addiction, and one that’s almost impossible to break because of the “techno high”. This is the blues, to be tethered to a device.
When celebrating our nation’s liberty, one should go ahead – “Stand Up and Raise Some Hell”!