After finishing their last original studio album over half a decade ago, the Rusty Wright Band went back to basics. They took a couple of years off from recording, stripped things down, and did a covers album tied to the music that inspired them (cheekily titled Playing My Respects), and reigned everything in — in a world that demands more and more out of musicians and artists, the idea to pause, breathe, and take a step back was an unexpected yet inspired decision from them. A few years and a pandemic later, they’re finally back, and… after hearing Hangin’ At The DeVille Lounge, the wait was worth it.
For fans of concept albums, Hangin’ At The DeVille Lounge is going to go over great for you. For those who despise concept albums, don’t fret! This is as loose a concept album as it comes and after the first track, the narration is effectively kaput — you can read into the “story” as much as you want, but you shouldn’t let it distract you from one of the most inventive and clever blues-rock albums in recent memory. (I’m not even sure people actively dislike concept albums but if my time on the internet has taught me one thing, it’s that at least one person out there will always strongly dislike everything.) Hangin’ At The DeVille Lounge is an album full of spooky vibes, be it “House of Spirits” slow, spine-chillingly hushed vocals or “Devil Music”’s explosive descent into the Bad Place. There’s a full picture being painted here and the story is there for anyone wishing to dance with it.
There’s enough of a personal story on display from the band and Wright himself, but for those just looking to get good music out of it, the album is more than content just delivering on that level all the same. “No One Cares At All” is a funky, bass-forward track that will surely earn its fans as the groove turns infectious, and “Goin’ To Nola” is the most typical blues song on the joint with its riffs and lyrics performed with reckless abandon. “Trouble’s Always Knockin’” is a slower entry, one that shows off the band’s ability to destroy and shred, no matter the tempo. It’s an impressive array of styles and approaches all across the incredible Hangin’ At The DeVille Lounge, and it’s clear that this is the Rusty Wright Band operating at the top of their power.
BUY THE ALBUM: https://rustywrightband.com/deville-lounge-presale
The return to the mainstream with an album as ambitious and conceptual as Hangin’ At The DeVille Lounge was a bold move but after feeling like I got a little too drunk and had to stay at the Lounge overnight, the music has washed over me and I can’t imagine a return to music for the band going any other way. It’s swaggering, shameless, iconic blues music and that’s what the Rusty Wright Band excels at. Their focus on the macabre is merely set decoration for the deeper and more nuanced songwriting and presentation that they have going on behind the scenes, but it’s all incredibly fun and, what’s more, you can tell the band is enjoying themselves.
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