The Hellecasters

Essential Listening, Vol. 1

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The Hellecasters play some fierce guitar. Their decade and three albums are keenly summed up on this fine collection, which stuffs in representative chunks of jazz, blues, pop, rock, and country. The thing is, these vets are pretty fluid in just about everything they do, so it's occasionally tough to discern one track from another (or one player from another, for that matter). A couple of unreleased cuts and a rarity are bait for fans, but novices will get the most from Essential Listening. While it helps to be a guitar freak, this trio's blend of Allman Brothers-style jams and playful heavy metal rips solidly convinces that even prodigious technical wizards are capable of having fun.

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