The Hellecasters – Essential Listening Volume 1

Essential Listening Volume 1
Essential Listening Volume 1

I’m sure it’s the same for everyone. You have certain players and bands that just can do no wrong. It’s that way for me with the Hellecasters. I just don’t know how you get three guitar players together in a better way and have them just play. This nice compilation features cuts from their previous three albums, plus some unreleased stuff, and songs that had previously been on compilations.

The Hellecasters are Will Ray, John Jorgenson, and Jerry Donahue. They’ve all made names for themselves in various settings, but on the Hellecasters records, it’s just balls-to-the-wall guitar. Their styles are very different, but mesh perfectly. Donahue is the consummate country-influenced Tele player. Banjo-picked chords, flying arpeggios, and lots more highlight his playing. Jorgenson is a Django-influenced rocker. Go figure. He’s at home playing everything from stinging rock leads to lightening-fast jazz runs. And Ray is a blues-influenced player who can get nasty as hell. And all three have a huge catalog of licks in every style.

The disc is full of incredible interaction. Solos are highly imaginative and unpredictable… almost ridiculously so.

If you’re not familiar with the boys, this is a good place to start. I guarantee, if you’re a fan of great guitar playing, you will end up picking up all their stuff.

This article originally appeared in VG‘s Nov. ’02 issue. All copyrights are by the author and Vintage Guitar magazine. Unauthorized replication or use is strictly prohibited.

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