Warren Hood & the Hoodlums
Reviewed by Margaret Moser, Fri., Jan. 30, 2009
Warren Hood & the HoodlumsMomo's, Jan. 24
It's impossible to know what Warren Hood was thinking as he stepped up to the microphone at just past 10pm on Saturday night. His boyishly handsome face shone under the spotlight, much as it did when he sang in honor of his late father, Champ Hood, at the 2002 Austin Music Awards. Tonight, instead of Lyle Lovett and Scrappy Jud Newcomb, his band of Hoodlums huddled about him and his fiddle with guitar, stand-up bass, drums, and keyboards. Hood's mouth curled into a sly smile as he plucked the instrument jauntily before setting bow to strings with jump blues, swing, and gypsy jazz, plus a smattering of tasty covers ("Blue Skies," "Bring It on Home") that the dance-floor-room-only crowd ate up. The audience bore a distinctly older skew considering the relative youth of the group. Perhaps the local quintet's superb musicianship is more appealing to the graybeards than its peers, and maybe the bittersweet memory of Champ's storied threesome, Uncle Walt's Band, lingers, but the sound is utterly timeless. Hood has style to burn, too, with a knack for composing songs as ageless as they are pleasing to hear ("Calm Down," "When You Are Near"). The band dynamic turns on Hood's seamless duets with keyboard player Emily Gimble, granddaughter of Johnny Gimble and a name to remember. Gimble's understated style belies powerhouse vocals and keyboard skills to match, taking Hood to that higher plane of musical satisfaction. Which is just about where Hood's thoughts might well have been Saturday night.