If the late blues great Fred McDowell rose from the grave, plugged into a tube-driven amp cabinet soaked in Lucifer’s nut-sweat, and hired Union Carbide Productions for his backing band, the resultant sound might not be all-too dissimilar from Boogaloosa Prayer. “The thinking man’s Blues-Hammer,” a self-deprecating allusion to the Steve Buscemi film, “Ghost World”, is how founding member and frontman Dooley Wilson summarily describes the band and its sound. “…White guys from the suburbs in the present day giving a loud, rock-infused treatment to traditional Southern Blues and Gospel.” While hardly an original formula, in the hands of The Prayer, the results are engaging and distinctive.
Conceived in a South Toledo basement in 2003, guitarists Jimmy Danger and Dooley Wilson settled very comfortably into a soundscape they had established almost a decade earlier as the founders of Henry and June, now a celebrated cult phenomenon whose only single produced a White Stripes cover favorite, “Goin’ Back To Memphis”. The years in between afforded the two a measurable accumulation of virtuosity, not the least being Wilson’s signature artistry on the slide guitar, which serves as a centrifugal element to the group’s driving sound. Danger is the irreplaceable rock-&-roll Yin to Wilson’s bluesitatious Yang, securing the firmament with an unmatched and understated sensitivity, not unlike a John Paul Jones of the six-string. Just as irreplaceable to The Prayer, legendary rock drummer Todd Swalla, formerly of Laughing Hyenas and Necros fame, brings nothing less than an infernal maelstrom of rock percussion to the lineup, which is rounded out by the bass talents of The Ruckus, a.k.a. Matt Ruch, a well-established and ultra-capable stalwart of the Glasstown music scene. On occasion, the band is additionally joined by Toledo’s premiere street busker John Roundcity on the harmonica. The Prayer’s initial (and thus far, sole) studio effort, “I Feel Like Shit”, is representative of their sound as a trio, before adding bass.