If you do a Google search for the band Handsome Jack, chances are you’ll quickly come across writers comparing the power trio with the Faces, Rolling Stones and Creedence Clearwater Revival. Lead singer and guitarist Jamison Passuite doesn’t mind the comparisons.
“There [are] definitely a wide variety of influences,” he admits. “There was another review I read recently [where the writer] mentioned the Grateful Dead and Little Feat. That was something kind of new that I don’t think we’ve ever been compared to before. But that’s cool."
Still Passuite argues that the band’s roots go deeper.
“I love the Stones and the Faces," he says. "But I think some of that comparison comes from [me being] into old-school blues and soul music, whether it be Muddy Waters, Howlin’ Wolf, Elmore James, Jimmy Reed. Or some of the old soul singers like Otis Redding and James Carr and Irma Thomas, things like that. And the Stones and the Faces [drew] … on a lot of those same influences. So I don’t think we’re drawing influences directly from them. But we’re drawing from the same well of those older blues and soul musicians that definitely inspire us.”
Handsome Jack will bring its mix of blues, soul and rock to Club Dada on Nov. 4 when it opens for All Them Witches. The band’s new album, Everything’s Gonna Be Alright, has been praised by No Depression, PopMatters and Classic Rock, among other media outlets. Passuite credits producer Zach Gabbard, who also plays in Buffalo Killers, with getting the band to work harder in the studio.
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“He’s one of those guys who you can really trust his ears,” the guitarist marvels. “He gave us direction like, ‘Hey, maybe you want to cut this bridge here and jump straight to this part.’ I might be satisfied with a take, but he’d say, ‘You might want to redo that or put a little more feeling into the next take.’”
Passuite and bassist Joey Verdonselli started Handsome Jack nearly 16 years ago when both were in high school. Drummer Bennie Hayes joined three years ago. Although they hail from Lockport, New York, Passuite says Handsome Jack’s most enthusiastic audiences are in the South. That’s why he’s especially looking forward to playing in Dallas.
“I don’t know if it’s the Southern rock thing or because it’s the birthplace of the blues. But it seems like we get a really great reception down South,” he notes. “Whether people realize it or not, I feel like deep down everybody can appreciate soulful, bluesy music. When people hear that in music and recognize it, it hits a nerve. People are looking for that. Good old-fashioned blues-driven rock ‘n’ roll is definitely appreciated.”
Handsome Jack will open for All Them Witches on Sunday, Nov. 4 at Club Dada, 2720 Elm St.