She doesn’t have the quirky lovability of Kacey Musgraves or the down and dirty back roads feel of a real country girl, but what she does bring is 100 percent rock ‘n’ roll and 100 percent her.
Angela Perley & The Howlin’ Moons come out with its newest effort and full length album Hey Kid Jan. 21 with high expectations after the single “Hurricane” received great radio play in the Columbus area and was even featured for a short period on ABC for the USC v. UCLA game back in November.
With four EPs/ short LPs before this release, Perley and the Howlin’ Moons had a lot to prove and they pull it off big time. Hey Kid is certainly their finest album yet as it feels fleshed out from beginning to end, flows well and has some rockin’ singles to play off of. However, it feels as though somethings being held back from the guitar as fans might miss out on some of the lengthier roaring guitar solos they have come accustomed to on previous singles such as “18 Feet Under,” or “County Fair.”
But not to fret, because if the group’s performance in Athens this past fall is any indication they have moved the live performance out of the record and to the stage where it belongs and allowed the album to be its own art medium. This change makes Hey Kid sound more like a Rolling Stones or Tom Petty riff based country-rock record, which is certainly a welcome change.
Although the big exception is “Roll On Over” which sounds like “Johnny B. Goode” honkey tonk-ified — in the best way. Guitarist Chris Connor really lets loose on this song and takes you back to rockabilly style modernized.
“Hurricane” is the foot-stomping low bass driven song that has become the group’s biggest single to date and really steals the show off the album. “George Stone” and “Ghost” also have that great guitar driven high energy that “Hurricane” brings to the table.
Although Perley is now based in Columbus, it’s refreshing to hear her sing candidly and heartfelt about Athens, where she graduated from Ohio University. The album actually begins and ends with the track simply titled “Athens,” where she looks back on those life changing years with a great fondness. Splitting up the reprise to close out the song works beautifully but it sure is powerful live when it’s put all together in one song. It’s really the perfect way to start off and end the album.
Hey Kid is about 60 percent country and 40 percent pure rock ‘n’ roll. That’s an interesting combination for a genre that has been largely deteriorated this past year by truck toting, dog loving, dirt road riding garbage on the radio and could use a swift kick in the ass. Perley along with Chris Connor (who I still consider to be one of the finest guitarists in Ohio now), Billy Zehnal on bass and Steve Rupp on drums, are the fresh blood the genre could use and they are coming at quite an opportune time.
You can catch Angela Perley & The Howlin’ Moons with Keesey at Casa Nueva, 6 W. State St., Friday at 10 p.m.
Photo By Kevin James