CD Review: Burnside & Hooker “All The Way To The Devil”

Burnside & Hooker is a band that epitomizes the term “Americana”. First, take a large amount of the style of the Squirrel Nut Zippers for a strong beginning reference. Then, add a generous amount of Folk Rock, some Blues, some Rhythm & Blues and a little Country and Jazz and you have a good idea of the sound of the band Burnside & Hooker. The band is comprised of Rachel Bonacquisti – lead vocals & ukulele; Diana Mayne – viola, piano, & backing vocals; Ted Graham – cello; Michael Vogus – guitar & backing vocals; Ken Fuller – upright bass & backing vocals and Vuck – drums, percussion, & backing vocals. The six members of the band bring many different influences to the music of the group and that makes for a very interesting sound. That sound can be found on the band’s new release entitled All The Way to the Devil.

All The Way to the Devil from Burnside & Hooker begins with the title track of the release. “All The Way to the Devil” is a short song of thirty seconds. The track is a’capella in nature with only a very strong beat to support the voices.

“All The Way to the Devil” segues right into “The Graveyard,” a Michael Vogus & Rachel Bonacquisti-penned track that seems to borrow some of its own musical approach from the previous track. “The Graveyard” takes the feel of the vocal delivery from “All The Way to the Devil” and expands on it to create a track that combines Blues, Folk and some Rock influence together. The track’s slightly dark feel is even reinforced by the repeating of the previous track’s chorus. The Blues/Folk/Rock feel of the song creates a strong track that gives the listener a strong indication of things to come.

“Someday (Gonna Leave This Town)” finds Burnside & Hooker creating a track that combines an equal amount of Jazz and Blues together with just a hint of Bluegrass. The Old Timey feel of the track makes the Rachel Bonacquisti-penned song seem as if it has been around a long time. The timeless approach of the song would have the song feeling right at home on any recent album release that features songs from The Great American Songbook.

The track “Bad Guy” seems like something that would have been created back in the 1990s during the Swing Revival movement that allowed bands like Royal Crown Revue and Big Bad Voodoo Daddy to become household names. The Diana Mayne-penned “Bad Guy” has that great Modern Swing feel to it and the song could easily find its way into the playlists of modern-day Swing bands.

While the first few tracks on All The Way to the Devil from Burnside & Hooker all have a certain musical feel that ties them together, the track “Iago” finds the band creating a track with a lot more energy to it. The Diana Mayne-penned track is basically an Indie Rock track with a lot of Rock and Roll influence to it and some Blues influence to it. The track has the strongest driving feel to it when compared to the rest of the songs on the release. The electric guitar from Michael Vogus and the standup bass from Ken Fuller are the standout instruments on the track that help bring the song to life. “Iago” is one track that will capture your attention.

Just as “Iago” brings a little energy to the All The Way to the Devil release from Burnside & Hooker, the song “Momma Said” brings the heat. “Momma Said” takes the listener in a much harder musical direction as the band creates a modern-day Punk Rock track. Guitarist Michael Vogus penned this track that combines the style of The Stray Cats with a little Punk Rock. The rockin’ track feels slightly out of place, yet strangely right at home with the rest of the album at the same time.

On the track “Rivets,” the musical ensemble of Burnside & Hooker creates a track that combines several styles of music to create an interesting instrumental track. The easy pace to the music comes from the folk influences from the band while the track also contains a slightly Western feel to the music. The instrumental track allows the listener to simply enjoy the talents of all of the members of the band.

With the track “Red Betty,” Burnside & Hooker creates a track that combines a little Rock and Roll with a generous amount of Swing to create a track that would make the band Royal Crown Revue proud. The track of “Red Betty” from Burnside & Hooker feels like something that would fit in perfectly with the Gangster Bop songs from Royal Crown Revue like “Hey Pachuco” and “Zip Gun Bop”.

Throughout the fourteen tracks that make up All The Way to the Devil from Burnside & Hooker, the band changes musical directions from one track to the next. The ever-changing feel of the music keeps the listener guessing where the band will go next. While the album is rather lengthy, the fourteen tracks never feel boring. Burnside & Hooker’s new release is a fun way to pass the time and it makes you wonder just what the band is like in concert. And even though you may not be able to catch them live, listening to the band’s new release is a great alternative.

Check out the song “Red Betty” from Burnside & Hooker live in concert.

Check out the entire All The Way to the Devil release from Burnside & Hooker on the band’s Bandcamp profile.

Check out Novo Management and Publicity, the band’s PR firm.