Although Hiram Bullock is renowned as a guitar slinger par excellence, his latest release, Try Livin’ It (ESC) showcases his vocals more than his extraordinary chops. Bullock applies his throaty baritone to a collection of tunes that lean toward the funk-rock side of the musical spectrum, like the opener “After the Fall,” the Steely Dan-esque “A Little Bit” and “Wild in the Streets” and the insistent groover “Can’t Fight the Funk.” He displays a softer side on “Summer Feeling” and a political consciousness on the fiery “Greed,” which addresses current events, including corporate malfeasance and the war in Iraq. But he downplays his guitar somewhat in favor of the vocals. Don’t get me wrong-there are plenty of instances where Bullock virtually burns down the house with his white-hot soloing. It’s just that the solos tend to be a bit limited in length, and I kept waiting for Bullock to cut loose, which never quite happened.