River City Hustlers to debut new EP at the Riverbend Festival this Sunday
It’s been 17 months since I wrote about the resurrection of the River City Hustlers, that kick-ass rock-and-roll band that (thankfully) just won’t die. They’ve been up to quite a bit since then, playing extensively and writing new music. Now, it seems, the kids have finally gotten around to recording again and will debut a new EP at their Riverbend performance on Sunday, June 7, at the TVFCU stage at 6 p.m.
First time around I had some pretty good things to say about the Hustlers. They were already a hot band chock-full of crazy talent. A lot can happen in 17 months, though, and having heard a sample track from the new EP, they’re past due for a second listen.
“Alright with Me” is the track I was given by the always entertaining Vic Burgess. The tune is available now on the Hustlers’ Bandcamp page—and while I’m all set to tell you about it, you really need to take a minute and go hear it for yourself.
Everything about this tune—the writing, the vocals, rhythm, lead, bass and drums—form a perfect storm of classic rock badassery. Yes, classic rock. I don’t mean the tired old dinosaur tunes that have been played to death on the airwaves for 40 years.
I mean the sweaty, throbbing, heart of rock music from the days when Steven Tyler didn’t look like he needed a good ironing, KISS had never taken off the makeup and the world figured Keith Richards only had a few years left to live.
Classic rock is the comparison I made last time around, too, but I wasn’t quite so emphatic then. The music was good, very good. I would have been hard pressed to find anything critical to say about it, and yet…this new material is better. This new material is a whole new level for the River City Hustlers. The reason why seems obvious to me. It has been refined by a year and a half of constant playing and practice by a group of highly skilled musicians. It’s the difference between a diamond in the rough and a gem that has been expertly cut and polished.
Bethany’s voice doesn’t mellow like wine, more like white lightning, with twice the kick. Roland McCoy’s timing on the drums may as well be an atomic clock; Chris Smith’s rhythm guitar is crunchy and solid; while Nate Luttrell’s lead work soars. Both men have mastered guitar tone, though whether that’s a gear thing or just the way they scrunch their faces up when they play is open to debate. Vic’s bass is exactly where it needs to be and his songwriting, as always, is uncannily great. Taken altogether they are practically a vintage ’70s super group, NOS if you will.
The kids are certainly popular locally and really ought to be tearing it up on a regional level by now, too. They’re easily that good. For the moment, check them (and their new EP) out at Riverbend this Sunday at 6. The practically legendary local band, The Unsatisfied, will be following the Hustlers on the TVFCU stage that night—so it promises to be one hell of a show.