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CD review: Who Hit Willie’s spirited ‘Ghost Town’

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Who Hit Willie's “Ghost Town,”

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Orlando band Who Hit Willie’s debut release, “Ghost Town,” is a spirited romp through a field of timeless music. The band’s rhythmic sound is a skillful blend of rock, funk, blues and ska. It’s the kind of music designed to keep a listener moving, which the nine songs on the CD do very well, even the softer ones. The catchy, smooth flowing songs have a vintage tone with a thick bassline and are highlighted by the sometimes subtle, sometimes dominant, interplay between the guitar, saxophone and piano, giving each song a distinct sound.

The band’s ska side really shines through on the CD’s up-tempo opener, “Livin’ In a Ghost Town.” The classic rock vibe on “Let You Go” is strongly enhanced by the top tier wrangling of the saxophone and guitar. “Breakdown, Overload” is a softer song with a jazzy blues sound capped off by an enjoyable surprise appearance of a rapped verse, followed by the ultra-funky “Mr. Stiff.”

The keyboard laced “On Its Side” and guitar embellished “So Lonely” show a softer side of the band, both enhanced by multi-faceted saxophone tones, from a gentle caress to a soaring high. “See You Again” is an up-tempo rocking blues tune with a classic feel, followed by the saxophone driven “Rock and a Hard Place.” The CD closes with the somber “Empty Room,” complete with wailing guitar, melancholy organ and heartfelt lyrics.

The CD was produced by the band and recorded at KDS Studios in Orlando. The band members, Robin Lewis (guitar, vocals), Steve Bailey (bass, vocals), Scott Wachsman (drums) and Bill Winborne (saxophone), were joined in the studio by Shadow Pearson (The Actomatics) on keyboards and backing vocals and Dave Mikeal on keyboards.

The band has a terrific, well-rounded sound and can easily draw fans from multiple music genres with this award winning debut CD. “Ghost Town” won the award for best pop/rock album at the recent Restore the Music Festival held in Gainesville, FL last February.

Music fans can check out Who Hit Willie on their official site, Facebook and Reverbnation and catch them live April 5 at Delandapalooza. “Ghost Town” is available on iTunes and CD Baby or CDs can be purchased from the band.

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