Howling Hex All-Night Fox

Assuming the title of his third solo album as the name for his new band, former Royal Trux wizard Neil Hagerty is back with his first recording since his former life partner and drug buddy Jennifer Herrema resuscitated their old band’s acronym last year, with RTX. The Howling Hex isn’t much like Royal Trux at all, even though Hagerty’s feeble vocals and distinct muddled guitar style are both prevalent in the music. He’s enlisted the vocal talents of July McClure (also on bass) and Lynn Madison (also on drums) to aid his pipes, as well as Peter George Denton, Hagerty’s regular rhythm guitarist, to build a cleaner, groovier countrified rock machine. All-Night Fox finds Hagerty back on his high horse, with his best album since his 2001 solo debut. It’s obvious his supporting cast is the reason for this; McClure and Madison’s vocals are drenched in reverb with a Southern twanged homage to timeless country stars like Loretta Lynn and Tammy Wynette. Naturally though, this is still Hagerty’s baby, so unless you can appreciate his unique musicianship, the Howling Hex will be just another musical mess with his name attached. Appreciators though will find themselves back on his bandwagon of twisted dirty blues rock. (Drag City)