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“Not My Circus, Not My Monkey” by The Hitman Blues Band

The Hitman Blues Band’s “Not My Circus” strikes me as a throwback seconds in. Threading two sax players, trumpet, guitar, bass, and drums with a committed singer is a classic formula for this style and band leader/guitarist Russell “Hitman” Alexander knows how to realize its potential. Alexander hones his skills playing any style of music offering a payday and assimilates a wide variety of experiences into familiar yet individual playing; invoking a timeless feel while retaining your own identity isn’t easy. There are surprising moments in the track despite being cut from such well-known cloth and there’s no question that Alexander throws every ounce of himself into the performance.

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The authenticity of his music is born from the countless hours, months, years that Alexander put into learning his craft. His chosen vehicle for musical self-expression is blues but Alexander is a well-rounded musician steeped in a variety of styles. You won’t hear country or Greek music in “Not My Circus” but the influence of this education influences the track. His ease with blues is natural, flowing out of Alexander in every line and note, and it is in part born from the confidence of a master musician working at or near the peak of his powers.

His singing will always be an underrated part of what offers. There’s no question he isn’t in an elite caliber as a singer, but he doesn’t need to be. Alexander has a surprisingly soulful voice and it’s capable of exerting muscle when the song asks for it. He, likewise, sings to the musical needs of the track instead of attempting to impose his will over the performance. There isn’t a single line that doesn’t sound fully involved.

He fills the guitar solo with the same sense of urgency. The slide guitar playing during this showcase spot doesn’t rely on a plethora of mindless flashy noodling. There’s ample firepower here, but Alexander harnesses it for dramatic effect rather attempt to dazzle listeners with his virtuosity. Musicians can be said they have the instincts of a storyteller and you hear that from Alexander. His musical instincts build things in a way that culminates rather than frittering away an opportunity to impact listeners.

The two saxophone and trumpet based musical slant they take works well with guitar. It isn’t a ground breaking approach for blues bands, many lead guitarists such as Alexander seem to tire of having the musical weight on their shoulders and look to diversify their sound. It works with spectacular effect here. “Not My Circus” will please any longtime blues and Alexander fans. Newcomers will revel, as well, in the Hitman Blues Band’s boundless enthusiasm for providing their audience with a first class entertainment experience.

You don’t enjoy the reputation this band does if you aren’t any good. They played stages world-wide and, as regular touring resumes, music such as this will propel their progress towards higher profile gigs. The Hitman Blues Band is well-dressed and ready to stun any doubters they meet along the way. 

Mindy McCall

The music of The Hitman Blues Band has been heard all over the world in partnership with the radio plugging services offered by Musik and Film Radio Promotions Division.  Learn more https://musikandfilm.com

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