Hussy Hicks – The London Sessions (Funk Fauna)
Hussy Hicks - Julz Parker and Leesa Gentz – a progressive folk duo from the Australian East Coast, got together in 2006, and were busy from the off, gigging, recording and releasing their music. Indeed, they debuted on plastic in 2008 with their “Life Plays Out” album, and have issued new recordings, on various formats, every year since. Their prolific output suggests they’re enjoying what they do, and that certainly comes across on their 2013 offering, “The London Sessions”. The pair – Parker plays guitar, and Gentz sings – throw themselves into the music, and their enthusiasm and joie de vivre is palpable. The sound is completed by a rhythm section that understands its obligations, and they swing like few folk groups do.
Not that they’re purists by any means. Taking inspiration from various genres, including jazz, soul, old country and blues, the different combinations they employ keeps their music fresh, without sacrificing their trademark sound. That’s defined by Parker’s expressive musicianship – she’s played with a variety of acclaimed guitarists from Tommy Emmanuel to Lulo Reinhardt – and Gentz’s distinctive and versatile vocals.
Standout performances come thick and fast. Opening cut, “Armageddon (Outta Here)” arrives on blues-rock guitar lick, and Gentz is soon in on the act. It’s a cracking start, and brings to mind Little Feat, Bonnie Raitt and the best of ‘70s FM radio. “Breaking It All Down” serves up a little social commentary, though it’s observational rather than preachy, and not forgetting my current fave, the rootsy, old-fashioned “Empty Room”, which would probably be hailed a classic had it originated in Austin rather than Australia.