Talk about your perfect album title. Hauntings is the collaboration of 2 talented musicians, a blues exploration that plums the depths of acoustic blues. This disc is sparse, elegant and, yes, haunting.
Cassie Keenum was raised the daughter of a Baptist preacher, with a rebellious spirit that led her to fall in love with the blues she heard in shady bars. Rick Randlett fell into the blues’ embrace in the 70’s, influenced by rock artists like Eric Clapton. Put Cassie and Rick together, and you have a natural chemistry that results in soulful, original blues.
Hauntings features Cassie and Rick on vocals and guitar, Nicole Wagner on bass, Rusty Valentine on drums, Little Mike on harmonica and Mitch Rogers on keys. Produced by Randlett, Hauntings is a fairly relaxed set- even an up-tempo number like Minute Man has a laid back swing to it that’s just kind of… cool, man. I suppose another word to describe this disc is ‘uncluttered’; there isn’t a lot of multi-tracking and Cassie’s brassy vocal doesn’t get double tracked for extra ‘oomph’. Rick’s guitar playing is perfect on these songs too, providing exactly the right spices as needed, never trying to bury a tune in a flurry of notes, even during a solo. As a player, he obviously understands that it’s not how many notes you play, but what you do with the ones you DO choose that counts.
Hauntings, while not strictly acoustic, still makes use of that form most effectively and Keenum’s voice plus Randlett’s guitar are perfect companions. With the exception of a decent cover of Leonard Cohen’s Hallelujah all of these songs are originals. There’s a spirit and a feeling to this set of songs that I can’t shake- and I don’t want to either.