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Clay Hughes And The What?
Wrong Side Of Crazy
Sharp County Records
www.clayhughesmusic.com


Sometimes it takes a concert to make one appreciate a band and their talent. Recently I attended a show with the band Clay Hughes And The What? and not only was there more appreciation for the band, but there's a complete infatuation for their album.

With the name Wrong Side Of Crazy one can only assume what's in store with this record. Relax, this isn't any kind of screamo that's going to rip your face off and leave you wishing you had your ear drums back. Rather it's three fellas taking a bass, a guitar and a set of turntables and having an absolute grooving time.

The opening track "Homeless" starts off very simple. Acoustic guitar strings set an almost lullaby level, but soon enough Tony "Beats" Baldassarre brings out a tempo that instigates a head bob in any listener. And when Clay souls out a few notes near the end of the beat break, it acts as a great dynamic for the whole band to bust out the bass-like strums.

If you want a song to officially kick off a party, then start with the title track "The Wrong Side Of Crazy". Some fun samples mixed with an 80s' dance groove gets the energy level set high from the beginning. If you listen closely you'll hear the insane finger moves that bassist Zach Haddock plays out. It's this kind of work that makes me want to go back to the show and just watch Zach work through this song. The best part of this number is the attitude. From the vocals to the notes, it's a strong thread that makes it that much more entertaining.

The first single off of the album is the strongly blues-inspired "One Long Day". You wanna hear a classic blues bass groove? Listen to this song. And when the keys add their two cents, you're instantly transported to a dark lit venue filled with patrons gently swaying and dressed in styles from circa the 1960s. To keep it in this decade, Clay asked fellow musician and rapper Reach to add just a little somethin' somethin' to the song. Placed nicely near the end, if you know its coming then you're waiting in anticipation. If not, it's a pleasant surprise.

For me the other stand out track on the album is "Ex". Similar to "The Wrong Side Of Crazy" it's a song that takes those first few minutes and uses them as a chance to get your booty shaking. As a sucker for the electric guitar, naturally, John's work in this song stands out drastically. Its rock as it's finest and definitely shows that those notes near the bottom of the guitar neck should not be ignored. Zach's still there sashaying through, but it feels like the turntables might be the key in this selection. With a little flick of the wrist, it was Tony to do that shaking in the beginning. And just as you get comfortable with the stringed instruments, another flick is what brings everyone back to the hip-hop aspect to the band. So many different elements of music come together in this song, that this is where the infatuation.

The beauty of this album is that it makes me want to have a party, just to play it loudly for a room full of grooving bodies.

-Rachel Fredrickson

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