Concert Monkey – Belgium

A review from Concert Monkey, in Belgium! Translation below:


“The Hungry Williams is an American band from Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Legendary Midwest drummer John Carr decided to form a band that would play music that would put a smile on people’s faces and make people dance for joy. With singer Kelli Gonzalez, guitarist Joe Vent, keyboardist Jack Stewart and bassist Mike Sieger, John found like-minded souls. These five musicians had all played together in one form or another over the years, but now they want to add some big swing to today’s music scene. Between December 2018 and March 2019, The Hungry Williams recorded the songs for their debut album ‘Brand New Thing’ at the Makin’ Sausage Music studio in Malwaukee, WI. With the three saxophonists Troy Leisemann, Julia Bustle and Bob Jennings, a real horn section was added to the band. ‘Brand New Thing’ contains fifteen songs. With the exception of “Everybody Loves Me (Why Don’t You), which was written by frontwoman Kelli Gonzalez, and “Stick a Pin in the Voodoo Doll,” which was written by guitarist Joe Vent, they are all rock ‘n’ roll covers. roll, jump blues and swinging R&B songs that are played with a New Orleans flavor. The music on the album is made for fun and dancing.

The swinging title track ‘Brand New Thing’ was written by John Sieger in the early eighties. With this very danceable, vintage song, The Hungry Williams immediately show what kind of music they want to entertain their audience with. This is music where no one can sit still and which is extremely suitable for building a great party. Singer Kelli Gonzalez has a good and pleasant voice and the backing vocals are also of excellent quality. The saxophonists Troy Leisemann, Julia Bustle and Bob Jennings get this swinging R&B song going. The handsome sax, piano and guitar solo give ‘Brand New Thing’ even more cachet. It continues to swing in the love song ‘Everybody Loves Me (Why Don’t You?)’, written by Kelli Gonzalez, in which the singer cannot understand why the boy she is crazy about is not her. Drummer John Carr and bassist Mike Sieger provide the infectious swinging groove and the horns are once again explicitly present. The Hungry Williams stick closely to the original version of “Hook Line And Sinker,” a song written by Dave Bartholomes and Pearl King and first recorded by Smiley Lewis in 1956.

The rhythm slows down a bit, but it remains very danceable in ‘Where’s My Baby?’ written by Edwin Bocage and Eddie Bo. It is spiced up with an excellent keyboard solo from Jack Stewart and sax solo from Troy Leisemann. The world hit ‘Whole Lotta Shakin’ Goin’ On’ is also being taken care of by The Hungry Williams. It was written by Dave ‘Curlee’ Williams’ and first recorded by Big Maybelle in 1955. Jerry Lee Lewis had a worldwide hit in 1957 with it. For their version, The Hungry Williams opt for less rock’n roll, staying closer to the original version of Big Maybelle. The older music lovers among us are sure to remember the melodic ballad ‘Baby Don’t Do It’ by The Five Royales’ from 1952. The Hungry Williams make a clever modern version of it, without losing sight of the vintage base. Keyboardist Jack Stewart knows how to charm us again this time with his clever and soulful piano playing. After ‘Hook Line And Sinker’, ‘Go On Fool’ from 1957 is Smiley Lewis’ second cover on this album. Drummer John Carr starts this swinging song with excellent percussion.

For many of their songs, The Hungry Williams go back to the golden fifties. ‘For You My Love’ they go even further back. Paul Gayten already had a hit with it in September 1949. The Hungry Williams make a slightly heavy version of it and the horn players have a large part in that. Kelli Gonzalez knows how to sing the song again in a very catchy and pleasant way. Less well known, but no less swinging for that reason, is Nugetre’s excellent ‘Wild Wild Young Men’. Kelli sings it with great conviction and many men will fondly remember their early years when they hear ‘Wild Wild Young Men’. The second original song on the album is ‘Stick A Pin In The Voodoo Doll’ written by Joe Vent. This original song also has that vintage fifties sound. It has an excellent groove and guitarist Joe Vent seasons his song with a nice and spicy solo. The swinging ‘No More Heartaches’ comes from Sugarboy Crawford’s self-titled debut album from 1976. The Hungry Williams stay close to the catchy, original version. The saxophonists put their best foot forward and provide very good solo work. Keyboardist Jack Stewart puts his stamp on this rock’n roll song with excellent barrelhouse piano work. This time no Kelli Gonzalez behind the microphone because Joe Vent takes care of the vocal part here.

If your legs aren’t tired, you don’t have to leave the dance floor, because with the swinging Wyona Carr cover It’s Raining Outside’ from 1955 and Jessie Hill’s ‘Whip It On Me’ from 1960, rock’n roll remains all that matters. . This last song is sung by Joe Vent. Tommy Ridgley’s ‘When I Meet My Girl’ becomes ‘When I Meet My Boy’ in The Hungry Williams version. Drummer John Carr and bassist Mike Sieger provide an excellent groove again. It is a cheerful song that immediately puts you in a good mood. The Hungry Williams close their album with the Don And Dewey cover ‘Get Your Hat’. No two male voices here, but a female and a male one. Kelli and Joe sing this steamy rocker together. The three saxophonists Troy Leisemann, Julia Bustle and Bob Jennings once again prove that they add great value to the music that The Hungry Williams bring. ‘Brand New Thing’ by The Hungry Williams is a must-have for all music lovers who love vintage jump blues, rock’n roll and swinging R&B. Most of the music on this album has been around for over half a year, but hasn’t lost any of its appeal yet.”