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Whitehorse | The Northern South Vol. 2

The married duo put their roots-rock spin on another slate of blues classics.

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If you heard The Northern South Vol. 1, you already know the drill: Singer-songwriter Melissa McClelland and her guitar-hero husband Luke Doucet put their Northern roots-rock spin on a slate of blues classics straight from the American South. And if you liked what you heard on Vol. 1, you already know what to expect from this six-pack sequel: Creative reworkings and reinventions all around. Howlin’ Wolf’s Who’s Been Talkin’ gets rearranged and reanimated with a groovy vibe, soulful electric piano, dusty vocals and peppy handclaps. Jimmy Reed’s Baby, What You Want Me To Do augments its sleepy shuffle with girl-groupy vocals and tinkly tones. John the Revelator sets ringing Resonator guitar and ghostly harmonies against cross-panning swooshes, buzzy bass synths and a crunching backbeat. Slim Harpo’s Baby, Scratch My Back fuses a slow-rolling staccato lick to honking harmonica and lo-fi lechery. Willie Dixon’s I Just Wanna Make Love To You gets turbocharged into a jumping boogie barnburner. St. James Infirmary is haunted with spectral tones, yawning reverb, grim feedback and spooky, spiky banjo. Through it all, Doucet’s inspired fretwork twists and turns, sears and soars, growls and howls, underpinning and bolstering McClelland’s sensually husky vocals with layers of texture and tone. Sure, you’ve heard all these songs countless times before. But you still haven’t heard them like this. Let’s hope they go for the threepeat.