Handsome Jack is a band that has been known throughout its career as a groovy rock band that delves into both Americana and guitar-heavy classic rock sounds. If you pore through the band’s catalog, you will encounter some songs reminiscent of The James Gang while other songs may bring John Hiatt to mind.
Get Humble (Alive Naturalsound Records) is the band’s latest album. It features a lot of the groovy rock you’ve come to expect from this band. However, the band also reaches into other genres on this latest effort that incorporates a healthy dose of blues and soul.
You get a taste of that soul sound with the first song “Got You Where I Want You,” which embraces an old-time R&B feel with the saxophone, primitive beat, and the backing vocals. It also turns a little toward a psychedelic sound with some spacey vocals about two-thirds of the way through the song. It’s an effective way to grab the listener’s attention immediately.
“High Class Man” is a slow-grooving, bluesy song that features vocals reminiscent of Delbert McClinton to mind. The chorus is a call and response that you can’t help but sing while the instrumental break features some greasy slide guitar that might have you reaching for your favorite whiskey.
As the album continues, you can hear how the band straddles the lines between rock, soul, and blues. “Shoulder to Lean On” is a rock and soul song that sounds a lot like a song by St. Paul and The Broken Bones – especially the horns. “New Home in the Sky” is a good example of how the band dwells in both rock and the blues. The melody of this one has a serious Rolling Stones vibe. In addition to the bluesy slide guitar, this one also includes the lyrics “all of my love was in vain.”
“Hard Luck Karma” is another song that maintains the blues vibe, but it’s more in the lyrics. The melody of this song is sure to get you moving while the lyrics tell a story that could just as easily be in a blues song. Some of the lyrics are, “Working for time but it ain’t enough. I said I quit, but the boss called my bluff.” He goes on to say that “nobody cares about this old stray cat.”
Get Humble by Handsome Jack offers a lot to love. The melodies are familiar in that they are reminiscent of bands that have been played on the radio for decades. The melodies will also make you want to get up and boogie while the lyrics are easy to sing.
Photo credit: Jeff Tracy