Rusty Wright Band – Wonder Man
The Rusty Wright Band hails from Michigan and offer up here their fifth release on Sadson Music. Not made for the faint of heart, RWB features blazing dual guitars that blend blues and southern rock into a mélange of hot sound. Featuring Rusty Wright on guitar, lead vocal and keys, Laurie LaCross-Wright on guitar and vocals, Dennis Bellinger on bass and vocals, Robert John Manzitti on keys, and Marc Friedman on drums.
This quintet makes a huge driving sound that crowds love (I’ve not had the opportunity to have seen them live yet myself). The husband and wife duo spar on guitar in the style made popular by the Allman Brothers and taken to heart by the blues infused southern rockers who followed them in the 1970’s. All original songs are featured here.
The cover song “Wonder Man” opens the set. It’s a big, well orchestrated piece with lots of synthesized horns and a big production sound that drives 100 mile an hour. The band really showcase their individual talents and work well as a team as they set the hook and open the album with a really nice song (my favorite, to be exact). “Ain’t That The Blues” is a cool little shuffle that tells us about a life filled with the blues.
Rusty gets into a couple of big solos, including one that takes us out with a fade into the “Black Hat Boogie.” This is odd but fun number with Rusty yelling out the choruses as the band joins in backing him; he does a spoken set of verses in an interesting style. The dual guitars go stratospheric and the beat is frenetic.
“You Know I Know” is a mid-tempo tale of love gone bad where keys and guitar swap solos back and forth; piano, guitar, organ and then guitar blaze and then Wright returns to bellow out how his women is, “Doin’ me wrong.” “Loves Gonna Treat You Right” is basically a 1970’s arena rocker a la Lynard Skynard with big guitar sound and the band doing a little harmonizing on the choruses. Not blues- this is a big, monster rock song.
They take a bit of a breath with “Gonna Come a Day,” going into a slow blues that begins with a stinging guitar solo intro. Wright then testifies about heartbreak as the song builds and builds for impact. “Corvette Sunday” is another rocker with blazing dual guitars; Wright and company seem to have the Southern rock sound down to a science. This time it’s a huge instrumental where the keys and even the bass get aired out for some solo work.
The ballad “Arms of Another” is more rock than blues, but effectively delivers another message of love gone wrong. Dirty, rocking stuff is next with “Whiskey Drinkin’ Woman;” the one-sheet included with the CD called it “a Lo-fi vibe” and I must say that is a succinct descriptor. Huge, rocking sound, a little distortion on the vocals and they play around with the guitar pedals for effect. “Chinfoot Ball” closes the set with another huge rocker. Electric companies must have to increase capacity when they play songs like this; big-assed rocking stuff.
While it’s not all blues; a huge infusion of rock and country with the twang of Skynard, Marshall Tucker and perhaps even Charlie Daniels make for an interesting ride. Those who enjoy a rocking and rolling sound from south of the Mason-Dixon line will enjoy this band from the Great Lakes State.
Blues infused into an arena rock sound, check these guys out!