Howard Kalish - What the Hey
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What the Hey (Behemoth, 2003)

Howard Kalish

Reviewed by Robert Wooldridge

After years of playing sideman to such Austin luminaries as Don Walser and Cornell Hurd, this debut release from Howard Kalish has the fiddle virtuoso successfully stepping up front.

The 15 tunes are a nice mix of Kalish originals and effective covers. Among the originals are a pair of instrumentals ("Philco Dr" and "South First Street Rag") named after South Austin thouroughfares, along with the Jr. Brown style "Bonafide Bulldozer Man" and the humorous Geezinslawesque "I Wanna Be A Cajun."

Some of the stronger tunes feature Walser on vocals, including a cover of Moon Mullican's "I Was Sort Of Wondering," the ballad "I Can't Stand My World Without You" (written my Kalish's wife Kathleen) and "Too Lonely Too Long," on which Walser is joined by Justin Trevino on harmony vocals.

Other standout tracks include Kalish's cover of Cornell Hurd's haunting "It's Dark All Over the World" and the Kalish originals "I Will Never Change So Why Don't You" and "I Just Want You For a Friend." In addition to Walser and Trevino other prominent players include Scott Walls (pedal steel), Floyd Domino (piano) and guitarists Rick McRae and Dave Biller.

Though in his liner notes Kalish professes to love being a sideman this impressive solo debut reveals the humble fiddler to be worthy of a place in the spotlight. (Howard Kalish website or

CDs by Howard Kalish

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