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Howlin Rain: The Russian Wilds

From the San Francisco Bay Area comes rock outfit Howlin Rain and their brand new release for Rick Rubin's American Recordings label, The Russian Wilds. These guys have a keen sense for classic rock, blues, and jam band styled material, as much of The Russian Wilds is steeped in the influence of acts such as The Black Crowes, Humble Pie, Steely Dan, Free, The Allman Brothers Band, and Jimi Hendrix.

Their ability to mix catchy grooves with some spirited blues & rock jams is evident right off the bat on the rousing "Self Made Man", a fiery number complete with memorable hooks and a wealth of scorching guitar solos from Ethan Miller & Isaiah Mitchell. Joel Robinson's swirling keyboards permeate the psychedelic pop of "Phantom in the Valley", which also has some powerful vocals courtesy of Miller. Howlin Rain show how much they love R&B and soul on the poignant "Can't Satisfy Me Now" (think early Black Crowes meets mid '70s Humble Pie), while "Cherokee Werewolf" is sizzling blues rock with Miller doing his best Steve Marriott impression on the vocals. "Dark Side" has a slight jazzy, funky feel in a Steely Dan, Doobie Brothers sort of way, and "Collage" sees the band pull out their acoustic guitars for an enchanting ride down Crosby, Stills & Nash avenue. The lead & backing vocals on this one are simply marvelous. "Walking Through Stone" is another return to soul flavored heavy blues rock, and again the influence of Black Crowes and Humble Pie is uncanny here, as this tune features some strong vocals, tasty electric piano, and muscular guitar riffs. The band ends the album on an even higher note with the sizzling instrumental "...Still Walking, Still Stone", a real eye opener that perfectly captures their musical talents.

There's a lot to like here on The Russian Wilds, as Howlin Rain appear to have all the tools to appeal to not only classic rock lovers of all ages, but also those into the jam band scene, roots rock, and good old fashioned hard rock & blues. As a solid slice of Americana, it works quite well.

Track Listing
1) Self Made Man
2) Phantom in the Valley
3) Can't Satisfy Me Now
4) Cherokee Werewolf
5) Strange Thunder
6) Plex Reception
7) Dark Side
8) Beneath Wild Wings
9) Collage
10) Walking Through Stone
11) ...Still Walking, Still Stone

Added: November 25th 2012
Reviewer: Pete Pardo
Related Link: Band Website
Hits: 1570
Language: english

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