Woody Mac – Beware the Monsters
CD: 11 Songs, 37 Minutes
Styles: Guitar Monster Blues, Contemporary Blues Rock, All Original Songs
“This CD goes to 11!” So says the blurb on Michigander Woody Mac’s website, advertising his new release Beware the Monsters. Not only does it feature eleven songs, but if you turn the volume up that high, your speakers and/or refurbished HyperX headphones will get blown out. Mac leans so far to the rock side of blues rock that he makes Jimi Hendrix look like Muddy Waters. Nevertheless, it’s perfect for a party in your backyard, garage, or tavern. Woody’s relentless, in-your-face shredding and instrumentally-drowned lyrics demonstrate exactly what kind of album this is: one full of what I call “Guitar Monster Blues.” Its incendiary energy leaves little room for interpretation, even less for introspection. Dance, drink, and dance some more.
States Allen “Woody Mac” MacMillan on his website, “Growing up in Dearborn Heights, Michigan, it was at a early age music and the guitar became a part in my life. I Picked up the guitar at the age of 11 and started to teach myself to play. I have enjoyed all types of music, especially listening to the Beatles and many other artists of the day. But I was really drawn to the feel of blues music and guitar players such as B.B King, Eric Clapton and Rory Gallagher, just to name a few. I soon found myself playing in neighborhood garages with my friends. I also enjoyed writing and creating my own songs at a early age which found me in several original music projects through the years.”
Starring alongside Woody Mac (vocals, guitar and synthesizer) are Jeff Dork (no typo) on bass and backup vocals, and Timmy Sears on drums and backup vocals. Eric Noffz guest stars on sax for numbers six (“Motor City Groove” and “I’m Alive With You,” both reviewed below).
Right from the first track, “Stand Tall,” this trio emulates key influences such as ZZ Top, Led Zeppelin, the Rolling Stones, and the Allman Brothers. Some might call their music a “mashup,” others a “reinvention,” and still others a “chaotic hodgepodge.” Go to track seven, “Good Lord Almighty,” and pick your favorite adjective. “Good Lord Almighty. You’re freaking crazy. You gotta be out of your mind,” Woody explodes in one of his more audible vocal offerings. “You want your cake and eat it too. Love someone else while I’m loving you. Bit off more than you could chew.” This comes straight after the relatively-smooth “Motor City Groove,” featuring clear and appealing sax from Eric Noffz. “Bad Girl” has a down-and-dirty refrain, and “I’m Alive With You” is the closest thing to a slow-dance tune, although it’s mid-tempo.
This is not your average rock recording. It’ll leave you in awe of the musicians’ stamina (fueled by how much caffeine?), and at the same time, it’ll make you wonder what would happen if they slowed down and injected more blues into their repertoire. As is, it’s a shred-fest beyond compare, mixing and matching the scariest guitar Monsters to create an oeuvre all their own. Listener alert: even if their style isn’t yours, it just might grow on you.