Boston’s GA-20 proved on their 2019 release, Lonely Soul, that the blues can be for everyone. The group crossed genres with their pristine technique, electric style, and funky groove. The band now returns with a smoldering tribute record to the legendary Chicago bluesman Theodore Roosevelt “Hound Dog” Taylor as the group gives you 10 tracks either written or preformed by Hound Dog.
The great thing to know about this album right away is that you do not need to have any experience with Hound Dog Taylor to let Try It…You Might Like It! rip. In fact, a lack of knowledge actually will give you a better sense of how good this record is as guitarist Matt Stubbs, guitarist/vocalist Pat Faherty, and drummer Tim Carman play each track here like they wrote every one of them. That connection to the music pours out of each note and truly gives this album its heart.
If you have heard Hound Dog’s music before you will hear how GA-20 smoothed the overall sound a bit from the originals, especially when you compare the vocals. Faherty’s lower register is much cleaner and paces the songs through the sweat and dirty grooves the band crank out. The 10 tracks here all have a warmer overall feeling that also includes a depth you will not hear on the originals. The riffs and drums that roll on album opener “She’s Gone” is top notch and memorable from the start. The quick and bouncy Hound Dog classic “Give Me Back My Wig,” goes off the rails with a quick toe tapping cadence and some sweat running down the forehead guitar. Both of these songs are highlights as they spotlight the power of Hound Dog’s music.
In my mind, the sonic overhaul of the tracks here only enhances the legend because it just shows that a good song is a good song no matter what! Especially when the what is the fiery drive GA-20 put into each one. GA-20 sizzled on Lonely Soul and they sizzle here. Throw out any thoughts that you don’t like the blues because the tracks here will quickly flip your opinion. GA-20 are completely engaging and if you only pick up one blues record this year – Try It…You Might Like It! should be it!
Key Tracks: “She’s Gone” / “Give Me Back My Wig” / “Sadie”
Artists With Similar Fire: The Black Keys / Howlin’ Wolf / Elmore James
GA-20 Review History: Lonely Soul (2019)
– Reviewed by Thomas Wilde