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Handsome Jack - Get Humble (Alive Naturalsound)

29 November 2021

As far as Handsome Jack is concerned, the music of the twenty-first century doesn’t matter. Of course, the Buffalo trio has made all three of its records in the past decade, so that declaration is a bit disingenuous. But the sounds on Get Humble, the band’s fourth album, back that assertion up. The soul-, blues- and country-inflected rock & roll captured here sounds channeled from that distinctive period from the late sixties through the early seventies, when psychedelic rock stripped down, rhythms grooved up, and a rustic sensibility started creeping in as urban hippies got back to the land. Occasionally augmented by smartly deployed horns, Jamison Passuite’s guitar can kick up a ruckus, but rarely gets out-and-out rude, while bassist Joe Verdonselli and drummer Bennie Hayes keep the rhythms, whether backbeat or shuffle, at a constant simmer. The trio’s raw but refined singing cultivates a sincerity more overtly appealing vocals might lack, but ultimately it’s the songs that matter. Without the strength of the bullshit-free writing that powers “Hard Luck Karma,” “Roll It” and “Simple Kind of Life,” the group’s musical virtues wouldn’t have anywhere to go. You could’ve put Handsome Jack on a bill with anyone from Creedence Clearwater Revival to the Faces to the Band, and the punters would’ve been happy. Hell, put them on tour with the Black Crowes and maybe they’d get the thumbs-up they deserve.