The Mighty Orq – Love in a Hurricane | Album Review

The Mighty Orq – Love in a Hurricane

Connor Ray Music

CD: 12 Songs, 50:40 Minutes

Styles: Roots Rock, Contemporary Electric and Acoustic Blues Rock

On the cover of the seventh CD from Texas’ Mighty Orq, two symbols appear. One is a white heart in the middle of a red cyclone symbol, representing Love in a Hurricane. The other, which is dark gray and harder to see against the black background, is a 45 rpm record adapter, used to put on 45rpm records for use on a record player originally designed for LPs. Together, these two symbols form a perfect picture of the Mighty Orq’s brand of blues: a blend of old and new, retro and current, classic and trendy.  Esoteric? Yes. Too philosophical to describe a fantastic roots and blues rock album? No. The difference between mediocre art and great art is that great art inspires us to look beneath the surface to the meaning underlying it.

Who has produced this example of great art? Josh Davidson, known as a standout guitarist and lead vocalist over the last thirteen years. His most recent accolades are making it to the finals of last year’s International Blues Challenge in Memphis (also in 2011), being an IBC regional finalist in 2012, and winning awards for “Best Blues Act” in the 2015 and 2012 Houston Press Awards. When it comes to his hurricane-style guitar, Orq reminds yours truly of Tim Langford (Too Slim) from Too Slim and the Taildraggers. When he tones it down a bit, he’s reminiscent of Eric Clapton on the understated album Pilgrim. Vocally, the Mighty can rip-roar with the best of them or turn mellow and melodic. Some of the songs on Love sound like they belong on a soul or easy-listening album instead of a roots and blues CD (witness “Say it with Silence”), but all twelve tracks border on the magnificent. Davidson presents eleven originals and two popular covers: Freddie King’s “Pack it Up” and Son House’s “Death Letter Blues.”

Performing along with him are Jimmy Rose on drums, percussion, and mandolin; Barry Seelen on organ, Rhodes, piano and accordion; and Terry Dry on bass. The Orq himself does lead vocals as well as playing electric, acoustic, resonator, and cigar-box guitars (a rare find).

The following original songs showcase the best of the Mighty, whether high-or-low-key:

Track 02: “Falling Down” – The heroine of this song is a lovelorn young lady who hasn’t had all of life’s advantages: “Troubled from an early age, she’s never good in school. The boys that always broke her heart – one was a fool. Then one night she took some pills and chased them down with wine. She didn’t run out of rope; she just ran out of time.” Raw and gritty, with roaring electric guitar, this is a scenario in which there’s no hope, and no future, for its subject.

Track 08: “You’re in Love (That’s Alright)” – The Orq takes listeners down to New Orleans with some zesty Zydeco blues. With a rollicking drum-beat intro from Jimmy Rose and Barry Seelen’s appetizing accordion, track eight is tastier than a plate of crawfish étouffée. It’s the most danceable number on this CD, not counting the slow songs. It’ll get everybody jumping.

Track 09: “Big Boat” – The title of this song is “what it takes to survive,” especially during a flood of Biblical proportions. Drawing upon the metaphors of Moses and Noah, Davidson paints a picture of universal cooperation. If we’re all in this together, no matter what our individual circumstances may be, we all have to keep our spirits up because, as this catchy tune reminds us, “Hope floats.” Despair only sinks. Dig that wicked guitar solo in the middle and organ harmony!

This Texas Orq is Mighty indeed, yet overall, the Hurricane-style songs are better than the Love songs.

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