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Friday September 19, 2014
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Hoodang

 

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based in Ann Arbor, they're undoubtedly that sort of musician. With excellent musicianship, thoughtful songwriting, and a natural aptitude for Americana, the quartet does justice to its genre.

It's easy to gravitate to front man and lead creative force David Rossiter in describing Hoodang, but it'd be criminal to overlook the excellent players backing him. Ralph McKee's bass and John Crawford's drums form a rock-solid rhythm section. Laid-back and unshowy, they lay down solid groundwork for the rest of the group. Dave Keeney's guitar work is more conspicuous, and rightfully so. Keeney executes everything from plunking rhythms to nimble rockabilly-style licks to shimmering pedal steel leads with the same masterful ease. Nobody in this group really looks like he's working hard; even when they string three consecutive hour-long sets together, this all seems second nature to them.

Heading up the group is singer, songwriter, and rhythm guitarist Rossiter. Hoodang's musical element is truly rich, but Rossiter's perceptive, well-drawn lyrics make the band more than just a particularly accomplished group of honky-tonkers. Rossiter is frequently likened to Steve Earle (whose "Texas Eagle" Hoodang has covered), and the comparison sticks, given Rossiter's well-worn vocal tone and the similarly well-worn characters in his songs. There's a story to each of Rossiter's lyrical protagonists, and it's usually a sad one. In the classic country mode, Rossiter is a chronicler of folks who are down on their luck and trying to fight their way up. Whether he's telling the tale of a truck driver or a condemned man on his way to the electric chair, the personalities in his songs are engaging and the details evocative.

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