Review: Hotrod Red — ‘1st Gear’

Three veteran Northwest musicians have teamed up for a rollicking romp through high energy rockabilly meets surf meets garage rock with a touch of blues to create a new sound they are tagging “NeoBilly,” for the new band Hotrod Red. The trio lead by singer-songwriter guitarist Larry Star released their debut album 1st Gear, in April of 2018. Patrick McDanel slaps the upright bass while Carl Martin handles the drumming and the trio invited a few select guests to fill out the sound on the ten original tracks.  Star’s gravelly baritone and sassy wit are front and center of each tune. The pounding “Backseat Boogie,” opens the set with fire, followed by the swinging story of falling in love with an evil woman “Just My Luck.”

Saxophone from young Brandon Hailey spices up the straight-ahead rock & roll of “Loner,” and who knew an Oldsmobile station wagon would be the chosen “hot rod,” for the anthem of speed “Vista Cruiser.” Star pleads his case on the genre twisting “I’m Sick That Way,’ that slips from country to funk to spaghetti-western theme music. The reverb soaked guitar on “Dangerous Darlin’” adds style to its infectious groove and Sue Oelrich adds nifty honky tonk piano to the time shifting rocker “Oh No.” Star snarls his way through the surf punk tantrum “What Makes You Crazy,” and the beer drinking sing along “Fill Er Up,” that features some hot blues harp from Paul Brown, ‘before closing with the joyous radio ready single “Go Go Girl.”

(Check out “Go Go Girl” below via YouTube and get more info about Hotrod Red at their website HERE.)  

Rick Bowen

Rick grew up in Kalamazoo, Michigan playing in school band, choir and show bands. While earning a BA at Western Michigan University in History and Social Science, he was a member of the Bronco marching band and jazz ensemble Gold Company. Moving to the Northwest in 1994, Rick soon landed gigs and sessions with many diverse local artists and is currently a member of the award winning Stacy Jones Band and the host of the all ages School of Jam. Rick is also an associate producer and session musician for Critical Sun Recordings, a contributing writer at Innocent Words, Seattle Examiner, No Depression, The Washington Blues Society and S.T.E.A.M magazine, and serves on the board of directors for the Washington Blues Society. Rick is endorsed by and plays THUMPER CUSTOM DRUMS. Awards: Washington Blues Society “Best of the Blues” award 2009 Best New Band –Stacy Jones Band WBS “Best of the Blues” award 2012 Best Blues Jam - Oxford Saloon Monday Night Jam 2013 & 2014 WBS Best Blues Writer award. 2014 WBS Chris Leighton Blues Drummer BB Award. Nominations: 2009 & 2013 Best Blues Drummer WBS BB awards. 2012 Best NW recording “No Need To Spell it Out –Stacy Jones Band (Rick J Bowen co producer)

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