Rusty Wright Band Releases ”Hangin’ At The DeVille Lounge”

The Rusty Wright Band has had quite the storied history as a band; starting on guitar at 13 before leaving home at 17 to play with Bad Axe, a metal group with a single album to their name, Rusty Wright is the man who wanted to be a rockstar and did it. Fiddling around with a variety of sounds and acts, Rusty finally returned home in the 90s and, in 2004, formed the Rusty Wright Band with his partner Laurie.

It wasn’t until the group started opening for major acts such as Lynyrd Skynyrd, Etta James, and Johnny and Edgar Winter that things started amping up, and things certainly did amp up. In the last twenty years, the Rusty Wright Band has been all over the globe on tours, and their discography has kept up with albums coming when the band felt like it — the true ebb and flow of a rock group, knowing to never force the music and art.

The Rusty Wright Band’s latest is another fantastic addition to their incredible slate of records, released under the name Hangin’ At The DeVille Lounge. It’s a record that opens with a narration about how the Lounge has been there forever, more or less, and how you’ll always find it when you need it, even without road signs. The music that follows is a mix of blues and rock, with early standouts coming under “Evil In Disguise,” an upbeat rock track that has one of the catchiest choruses on the album, declaring “Is this love or evil in disguise?”

The album’s high point from a technical standpoint comes with “No Man Is An Island,” an eight-minute epic that brings in a phenomenal backing chorus through layered vocals. The scope of the track is felt, but the runtime never drags; it’s an impressive feat that stands as a testament to just how in the pocket Rusty Wright and the band are by this point in their careers. “Trouble’s Always Knockin’” is a slow, lazy blues song that would complement any steamy, hot day with a little saunter, to and fro. “Devil Music,” the album’s final track, almost feels born out of a different band with how explosive and gritty it is — the band inhabiting such an intense mindset is impressive, and they wear it well. I’m not sure what a metal Rusty Wright Band album would be but this sampler is enough to make me and others all the more curious.

The growth of a band that has managed to find themselves reacting to a slew of changes across their time as a group is always daunting and unpredictable; hell, the band put out a live album during the pandemic as a way to respond to the wild nature of the times, so maybe they’re on the trends more than some of us. It’s been incredible seeing Rusty Wright evolve as an artist, and seeing the band grow from his interests into something more global and expressive has been a wild ride. The band has earned their place among the greats of modern blues rockstars, and Hangin’ At The DeVille Lounge is a perfect next feather in their cap.

Michael Rand

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