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  • Writer's pictureJohn Haley

The Rusty Monks 'Her VooDoo': A sound all its own

Updated: Jul 8, 2023

(The Rusty Monks | Photo courtesy of Joe Brown)

A Summer Concert Freebies record review" 'Her Voodoo' by the Rusty Monks


If funk is your thing, if rock is your thing or jazz or soul is your thing, if you dig a sultry voice, a screaming guitar or a tight horn section, just listen to a new album by the Rusty Monks, titled 'Her Voodoo.'

It's a record that cannot be categorized as one particular genre of music, it's a mixture of sounds that all come together known as the Rusty Monks sound.

The Rusty Monks, originally a band based out of New York City, now work out of the suburban city of Rahway. This is the fifth studio album by the Monks, led by founder Housecatnick (Nick Rosal), also the lead guitarist.

The album is comprised of 11 original songs composed by Housecatnick, Mr. Music of Rahway, who has almost single-handedly turned the town into one of NJ's most happening music scenes as a promotor at multiple music venues.

The album, recorded live in the studio, starts out with an instrumental titled 'Big Apple Crawfish Groove', which gives its title away as it features a tough New York sound mixed in with a Bourbon Street beat.

The Rusty Monks live in Rahway, Dec., 2021

The song is an introduction to the rest of the album as it mixes in all the elements mentioned above - funk, rock, jazz and soul - into an up-tempo, non-stop groove punctuated by a lethal horn section.

Victoria Rosas, who combines a versatile voice that is soft, sexy and sultry one moment, then powerful and in your face the next, starts getting involved.

On track No. 2, 'Roll the Dice', drummer Stephen Gadless gets things going and he maintains a steady beat throughout. Everyone else follows Steve's lead, including Housecatnick on lead and a keyboard doubleheader lead featuring Robbie Sko on keys.

'Brothers and Sisters' follows suit in the same mold with bass man Joe Palamara, leading the way in this one with a steady deep groove.

'One Of A Kind' features the more soulful side of the group as Lauren Cook takes Housecatnick's love song lyrics and turns it into something you can imagine listening to in a club in New York City.

'JT's Hot Sauce' is just that as Housecatnick takes center stage with his nasty funk guitar sound constantly grooving, while he also ventures into a lead guitar role. The song also features a juicy sax solo by the talented Max Meilles.

The boys and girls slow things down on 'Sunrise' with Victoria Rosas taking full command with a soulful, sultry groove that flows from start to finish.

On 'Tired of Being Broke' the group revs things back up with a horn-influenced tune where Lauren Cook takes her voice to the limit as she testafies about being broke.

The title track, "Her Voodoo' is a catchy number where every band member shares the spotlight with their well-honed skills all on display.

"Move to the Groove", doesn't really need a description. The horn section sets the tone and all other bandmates simply fall in line with a dance number that does what the title suggests. The acapella ending adds a cool little touch.

Your have to listen to the final cut 'Ain't Going Back'. It' a slow groovy love song … sort of. Just listen, you'll see what I mean.

The Rusty Monks live in Rahway, Dec. 2021

All told, this is an album composed by musicians who are obviously dedicated to their craft. Each one takes the spotlight throughout the album and they all come together collectively to create a sound that can only be called their own.

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