Victor Wainwright & The Wildroots, 'Boom Town,' Blind Pig Records [REVIEW]

By Mike Greenblatt on Jul 29, 2015 10:15 AM EDT
Victor Wainwright Victor Wainwright plays with his foot, elbows and hands as he karate chops his way to 'Boom Town.' (Photo : Donna Criswell)

Victor Wainwright, keyboardist for Southern Hospitality, is a big man who plays the piano with the same kind of dramatic flair that Jerry Lee Lewis has been doing for the last six decades. He pounds those ivories in the kind of boogie-woogie beat that reminds one that the piano is, after all, in the percussion family. You'd think he was karate chopping the keys and oftentimes, on a stage, he does. The man is an entertainer, pure and simple. His Hammond B-3 fills provide the icing on this cake.

With the release of Boom Town, his pedal-to-the-metal 100 miles-per-hour jump blues and earthy rock 'n' roll is coarsely sandpapered by the talented Stephen Dees who wrote most of the songs as well as produced, sang back-up, shook a tambourine, and played electric and acoustic guitar. Add four saxophones, a second B-3, extra percolating percussion, some slide, harmonica, drums, two more singers and three more guitars to the fray (depending upon the track) and you've got yourself a Boom Town of hustling bustling activity. All 13 originals are keepers with no filler in sight (or sound).  All of this and we haven't even gotten to his voice.

Wainwright sings as if his life depends upon it. Feel free to pick out traces of Leon Russell or Dr. John in his phrasing and elastic propensities to drawl like a Southern politician. Using the age old diametric of Saturday night sin followed by Sunday morning redemption, his songs-especially the back-to-back "The Devil's Bite" and "The Reaper's On The Prowl"-portray the ethic of the good ol' boy who just can't seem to ever be satisfied...but he never stops trying.

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TagsVictor Wainwright, Southern Hospitality, Stephen Dees, Blind Pig Records, Boom Town, REVIEW

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