The Christopher David Hanson Band: Hoodang

by Paul Whyte

I know I’ve reviewed at least one album from The Christopher David Hanson Band. This Iron Range band has always been remarkably professional and fairly easy to listen to. They bring in a mix of blues, country, and a certain sound of classic rock, but I can’t really call it classic rock because all of these songs are brand new originals. They at least have their stuff together to land casino gigs and the last time I checked, they even have a dedicated sound guy. So, in my book they’re a cut above the standard bar band that may play 99% country and rock covers. Asking a casino crowd to stick around or show up for original material isn’t always an easy task, but they do it, and they deserve those sweet higher paying gigs.

Their new album titled “Hoodang” keeps things moving in a likable manner. For those who love metal or more experimental music, this isn’t going to be their cup of tea. I’ll say it again, professional and accessible music is the name of the game here. I still have yet to see them live, but the musicianship alone would make it easy for me to sit a couple of hours watching them.

I’m not going to put down a three or four piece rock band for a second, but it’s really the layers of sound brought from the added keys played by Brent Saari and the saxophone from Willy Larson that spices up this group. The rest of the members include: Craig LaSart on bass, Jim Pietila on drums, Dave Hill on added percussion, and Christopher David Hanson on guitar and vocals. Together, they lay down a sound that I just have to say is mostly fun and positive. This album also has a number of guest artists that are familiar names in the Iron Range and Northland.

The album opens up with the swinging old timey sounding rock song “Make it Last.” This dance worthy tune is strengthened by the ever present horn section and the punch of the well played piano. It’s perhaps not the most memorable song for me personally, but as far as the instruments and overall delivery, it’s solid.

One song that stuck out to me is the song “Coat Rack.” It’s like a friendly PSA announcement to remind people to not drink and drive as well as for sober friends to let not-so-sober friends have a place to stay. Again, there is definitely a swing groove to this song. “Don’t drive that Cadillac…You can crash on my couch tonight,” sings Hanson. Hanson himself no longer drinks, but seems to not hold much judgement over those who do.

The track “Little Things” goes into more of a slow country waltz. While these songs all seem to fit together on this album, there are nice changes that happen between the tracks. Speaking of Hanson’s drinking past, this song seems to touch on that. He sings about waking up the neighbors in the middle of the night and being hauled off to jail due to his taste for alcohol. It seems to be a recognition of that lifestyle and an outlook of change.

The thing that a lot of Iron Range bands have in common is that they sing about the Iron Range. The track “Range Miners Waltz” is an old folk sounding tune that reflects the area. A standout part of the song is the fiddle laid down by Jillian Rae who also hails from that area.
Towards the end of the album is the song “Monster in the Woods.” While the band itself is pretty serious as far as skill, this song shows that they certainly can be light at times. The song has a Bohemian feel and is certainly catchy. It’s about a very mild mannered monster that lives out in the dark northwoods. I’ve been aware of this song for a little while because there’s actually a pretty entertaining music video that goes along with it that can be looked up on Youtube. It has muppets and is a joy to watch. If you don’t pick up the album or care about this music, that music video is at least worth a watch.

Overall, this is another great effort from The Christopher David Hanson Band. They know exactly what they’re doing and it shows. It’s just some fun original material that is well played and recorded. I think that’s all I need to say on this one.