This album release snuck up on me, and I put it on my radar as soon as I saw when it was dropping. While eager to hear it, I did not have this one as something I had to hear right away as I enjoyed the first EP but wasn’t blown away by it. Then, I gave this album a listen… and another… and another… and well you see where this is going. This album is a gamechanger for future expectation (when we get there), but let’s invest a lot of time into the present as this album gives us 10 songs in less than 30 minutes with not one second wasted. With influences ranging from glitter glam, 70’s blues hard rock, and rock n roll. Gyasi, currently based in Nashville, has followed up his first EP with a classic, timeless feeling album that will likely be on many end of the year best album lists as the number of people who hear it.

The lightning guitar riff by Gyasi that launches ‘Colorful’ tears a hole in the soul and immediately gets the body moving. ‘I’m not normal; I was born colorful’ is not just a lyric; it is a statement of intent from an artist who has invested blood, sweat, and tears into finding out who he is. The guitar solo allows a reprieve before an epic race to the finish of the song and one final chorus. We change gears immediately with the acoustic power pop jangle of ‘Androgyne’ affirming that you can be anything you want to be. In a world of bullies, this can serve as an anthem for those that don’t fall into the society ordained categories and give them a voice. The bluesy ‘Young Love’ takes some Led Zeppelin influences with Gyasi using a higher vocal here to create an awesome hook in the chorus.

One of the early singles follows with ‘Tongue Tied’ shaking and grooving down the back alley with another addictive chorus. The added harmonica showcasing another element we have not heard. This one recalls some Rolling Stones vibes. The bluesy ‘Blackstrap’ brings some horns into the mix and creates an even stranger musical refrain. This song has proven to be an incredibly fast grower as I was not initially blown away by it and now think it is one of many favorites from the album. The chorus comes from early glitter glam and attaches itself to your brain.

‘Wilde Childe’ starts us down the back half of the album with a straight forward beat giving way to an almost robotic refrain in the chorus. This song might actually be the one that grabs me the least, but I am still singing it and not wanting to skip it when I play the album so maybe I call it the runt of a very strong litter. Some acoustic and slide guitar introduce ‘Bring Your Love’ which again recalls a bit of Led Zeppelin especially with that vocal hook in the chorus making me think of something like ‘Ramble On.’

The final trio begins with the upbeat ‘Nightcrawl’ which shimmies and shakes on an addictive beat that with the piano riding on top of it feels part Bowie and part musical number. The guitar cuts through at all the perfect times, and the hook is cut deep into my brain at this point. When I think about my favorite songs of the year, this one will be on the list. It segues into the glam glitter rocker ‘Kiss Kiss’ which features some more awesome piano work as well as some saxophone. The chorus is perfect and would make a perfect partner with something like ‘Almost Faded’ by the Sweet Things. Similar to ‘Nightcrawl,’ this one will likely garner a lot of attention from me for my favorite song of the year. Closing number ‘Little Tramp’ is an acoustic strummed rocker that is part T.Rex and could have fit seamlessly into the soundtrack for ‘Almost Famous.’ The gentle acoustic outro allows for a breath and provides one of two options. You either go right back into the beginning or allow it to transition to Gyasi’s first EP. Either way, you are a winner.

While Gyasi handles most of the instruments here, I do want to recognize the following who also play on the album:

Ammed Solomon and Gaelen Mitchell- drums

Dylan Whitlow- bass on ‘Young Love’

Don Steck-harmonica on ‘Tongue Tied’

Stefan Forbus- sax on ‘Kiss Kiss’

This album exceeded all my expectations and has left trails of glitter all across my favorite albums of the year. I would love to see a Gyasi/ Sweet Things tour happen where everyone can forget what year it might be and just celebrate for an evening. I cannot recommend this one enough if you want some enjoyable rock n roll that has a reverence for the past as well as a passion for the here and now to create 10 timeless songs.  2019 became even more awesome when we got this treasure of an album.

‘Androgyne’ is available Here.

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Author: Gerald Stansbury

 

 

Let me start this by painting a little image in your head.

The year is 2004. I’ve just finished school for the summer and I can’t wait to waste the rainy days indoors blasting Kerrang TV. I’ll always remember seeing the music videos for Fat Lip and In Too Deep way way back in the day, they made quite an impression on this edgy little 10-year-old.

 

It was about a year later when I managed to get the albums All Killer No Filler, Half Hour of Power and Does This Look Infected? (I say get because I had to rely on my old man buying me CD’s, No sales clerk is gonna sell an 11-year-old an album with the opening track “Grab the Devil by the Horns and **** Him up the *** … Oh the curse of parental advisory, I do not miss it.) I can’t remember how many times I had played tracks like Still Waiting, Makes no Difference and Summer but I’m sure the repeat button on my walkman hated me.

 

Sum 41 are still kicking after all these years however with Order in Decline, their most recent work. We’re greeted with the opening track Turning Away. It’s not how I expected the album to start, put it that way. Catchy riffs and sequences are present, the chorus and the guitar solo (which is killer by the way) add a bit more energy to it but it still feels a bit lackluster as an opening track.

 

Two of the more stand-out tracks for me have to be Out for Blood and A Death In The Family. Both of these songs are borrowing from the style of the 2004 album Chuck. Not to mention these songs are pretty heavy for a punk band, with double bass beats and riffs that go hard. Around the midsection of the album is where we start to get some of the more groove-oriented tracks such as Heads will Roll and 45 (A Matter of Time). Already in five or so tracks Sum 41 are really showing that they’re not afraid to branch out into a number or different styles and subgenres, showcasing how they’ve developed as musicians over the years. Albeit with the departure of Stevo 32 some years back.

 

After a brief slow down in tempo and mood with the song Never there, we’re thrust straight back into the groove-fueled Eat You Alive, and then another personal favourite from this record The People Vs… This track is an absolute beast of punk riffs and drumming, Deryck’s vocals really shine on this track due to the grimey punk aesthetic. The final track on the album Catching fire also feels a bit lackluster. I’m not gonna lie it sounds like pop music, but I’m sure there’s something there for every sort of fan, albeit new or old.

 

All in all this record showcases much of the band’s diversity and how they’ve developed their musical style over the years. There’s something here in this record for everyone, whether you’re a fast-tempo high energy punk fanatic, a groove-heavy rock and roller, or even someone who enjoys the slower types of songs. You’ll be able to find something to enjoy in this album. I do think the track listing feels a little confused, however, Personally I’d have moved some of the songs around just so the album flows a bit better, instead of the more random nature of styles bouncing back and forth as you get deeper into the record. Some might argue that the order of songs are there as “Palate Cleansers” but It’s a bit too much for me personally. As an older fan of Sum 41, I did enjoy the record in whole. It’s great to see a band I grew up with still kicking and still producing great tracks.

Buy Order In Decline Here

Author: Adam Hatherway

Today sees the release of the new Michael Monroe single “One Man Gang” from the brand new album out Oct 18th.

The track also features the punk rock legend, Captain Sensible ( The Damned ) as a special guest playing the lead guitar on this one. If you’re into authentic, high-energy Rock’n’Roll you’re gonna dig this one!

Written by Rich Jones. The track features  Michael Monroe – lead vocal, Rich Jones & Steve Conte – guitars &  vocals, Sami Yaffa -bass, Karl Rockfist – drums, The Captain – guitar solo. ‘One Man Gang’ was also produced by the band. 

 

The 40th-anniversary of the Ramones’ first live album, ‘It’s Alive’, will be marked on Sept. 20 with the release of a six-disc version containing three unreleased concert recordings from the same tour.  The benchmark for all live albums ‘Its Alive’ was always going to follow previous Ramones albums with the book style Rhino treatment and welcome it is too.

A previously unreleased version of “Blitzkrieg Bop,” included in the four-CD/two-LP package, which is presented in a hardcover book. You can listen to the track here.

‘It’s Alive: 40th Anniversary Deluxe Edition’ includes all four concerts that were professionally recorded during the Ramones’ U.K. tour in December 1977. Three of them make their debut on this set: Top Rank at Birmingham on Dec. 28, Victoria Hall in Stoke-On-Trent from Dec. 29, Friars at Aylesbury, from Dec. 30 and the Rainbow Theatre in London on Dec. 31.

The new edition will be limited to a run of 8,000 copies and will also be made available via digital and streaming services. This also marks the first time ‘It’s Alive’ has been available on vinyl in the U.S.

You would have had to have been living under a pretty big rock these past five years or so not to have heard the name Pretty Vicious mentioned in music circles. The Merthyr four-piece were hailed as the “next Oasis” by many websites/magazines and inked a silly money major label deal after what was literally just a handful of gigs.

Whilst a few of my close mates experienced that early buzz first-hand and rejoiced in seeing a local band once again looking set to make it big I deliberately stayed away purely because with a band as young as Pretty Vicious (they were all in their mid-teens when signing their initial deal) it all felt a touch too voyeuristic, and you only have to look at what subsequently happened to The Strypes to see how badly it can all go for a young band if they don’t shift the units their label wants them to.

So here we are in 2019 and now devoid of that original record deal with Virgin /EMI Pretty Vicious currently find themselves doing low key interviews to promote ‘Beauty Of Youth’ minus their singer as he has had to step away from the spotlight due to a personal tragedy that almost cost him his sanity. Their long-awaited debut is now being released through Big Machine Records a label based in Nashville that normally specialises in Country music so with all this going on this just suddenly felt like the right point in time for me to fully experience what Pretty Vicious are all about.

Granted it’s not exactly my first time hearing the band as I did dip my toe in the water with some of their early singles and whilst they were okay they didn’t exactly blow me away either, so what ‘Beauty of Youth’ is is my first chance to sit down and fully immerse myself in the band’s sound, a sound that has now had 5 whole years to develop and mature.

Well, the “next Oasis” label afforded Pretty Vicious early doors I can certainly pick up on during opener ‘These Four Walls’ and there’s more than one occasion during the album’s dozen tracks that I get the sense that the pressure must have really been on the young lads to write arena-filling tunes at all costs. ‘No One Understands’ for example certainly has that early Stereophonics Valleys lad bowl (as in strut) about it, whilst album closer ‘Little Molly’ is the anthemic lighters (or should I say phones) in the air tune that all albums of this ilk see as mandatory. BUT and this is a huge BUT its when Pretty Vicious break out of musical trappings of what is expected of them that they truly shine, in particular, singer Brad Griffiths who sounds not unlike a curious hybrid of Axl Rose and 70s Ozzy Osbourne during tracks like ‘Are You Entertained?’ and the brilliant ‘Someone Like You’. Indie music this most definitely is not folks, and the production from Dan Austin (You Me At Six, Twin Atlantic, Pulled Apart By Horses) certainly helps the boys push the attitude (and guitars) to the fore.

Elsewhere ‘Something Worthwhile’ kind of reminds me of 90s rockers Cast albeit with a turbo booster shoved up their arses, ‘Move’ has an almost Gary Holton goes grunge feel to it and the back to back pairing of ‘Force Of Nature’ (Oasis drum fill in the intro aside) and ‘Lost In Lust’ could very easily be Smashing Pumpkins at their very peak.

With all that is going on musically in the dozen songs that make up ‘Beauty Of Youth’ the future should really be looking bright for Pretty Vicious, but with Brad side-lined and dealing with his personal demons I applaud his bandmates for sticking by him as there is no way success should come before a mate’s own wellbeing. “It’s just a game” after all, as Brad sings during ‘Playing With Guns’. I just hope he gets himself sorted and that the band can then fully capitalise on this absolute stonker of a debut album. In their own time though as they still have the real beauty of youth very much on their side.

Buy ‘Beauty Of Youth’ Here

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I became aware of Liza Colby through the Sweet Things where she has provided backing vocals for them in the live setting at times. It became quickly apparent that she might be an artist to watch so I started picking up some past singles and EPs that were okay but never kept me coming back for a lot of listens. Still, there has always been something there that told me I would be rewarded in time as she continued to develop her sound. I would consider this her full-length debut at a compact 8 songs that recall the albums of the ’70s, and this is the best music she has released to my ears. Her approach here should also cross over several genres as the artists that come to mind are a diverse bunch. She brings in a lot of rock, a little psychedelic, soul, blues, and other elements to carve out an album that deserves to be heard and played many times. Every year, there are albums that kind of simmer beneath the surface, and, over the course of the next few years, I realize that they are still getting played regularly. I can see this album in that role.

‘Cool Hand’ powers out of the box to start the album with a distorted bass (Alec Morton) and drums (C.P. Roth) segueing into a restrained verse where Colby sings somewhat softly and flexes her vocals with the return of the distortion. The way the music is recorded I am at times reminded of the likes of Kyuss and other desert rock bands but with a more commercial touch. The chorus here is not my favorite on the album as it can feel too repetitive. A cool drum pattern introduces ‘Creep On’ where the bass and guitar (Jay Shepard) both creep into the song. The swirling distorted guitar and bass riff are phenomenal together. The hard bluesy groove brings in another simple chorus lyrically, but this one works much better form me as it slithers in and out of the music. The guitar solo provides an air guitar option but also the ability to just close your eyes and lose yourself in the sound.

With ‘Try Me,’ the band turn up the tempo with the groove leading to some great drum fills and a great chorus. The mix here allows the entire band to be heard and comes straight from the ’70s with a jolt of adrenalin added to pick up the pace. The first half of the album comes to a close with the rocking ‘Young Girl.’ It feels like it could go off on a 10-minute jam at any time; it doesn’t hit the heights of the two previous songs but does provide a satisfying close to the first half of the album. My favorite part of the song is where everything breaks down for the bridge which gets some time to truly lull the listener closer to the speaker before kicking it back up for the finish.

Side 2 begins with the sultry blues of ‘Shake You’ which is dominated by Colby’s vocals. The inflections of the guitar provide nice texture with the eventual peak releasing into a guitar solo that is spot on the money. The crescendo then falls back for another gradual build and satisfying close. The rumbling rock of ‘Eye On You’ gives the band an aggressive song that still maintains a lot of softer touches even when Colby tells us she has “always been an Alpha.” The chorus hits some commercial heights where its huge hook and backing vocals release a steel trap on you. This has been one that has battled to be my favorite from the album.

Heading to the finale, ‘Oh Baby’ continues the hot streak with some simmering blues-rock that might be the best performance Colby has put on a recording to this point in her career. This is the one that gets the hair on the arm to stand during the verses. I love the guitar riff that comes to the surface each time the song builds in intensity. With many of the songs here exceeding five minutes, this is a great album to just get lost in when it plays. I could see the Big Brother Holding Company coming up with something like this, especially when Colby holds that last note. ‘Zero to Freakout’ provides another platform for the bass to be the dominant musical hook during the verses and sets up the burning guitar riffs. The chorus carries the song to another level and is the best on the album for me. At six minutes, this epic has several passages that make it a masterpiece, and I would hope this is also the live closer for the current live shows.

At eight songs, this could have felt lean as an album but instead really hits like the quality albums we used to get back in the day before people decided that every inch of tape on a cassette or space on a CD needed to be filled. This album does something truly remarkable in today’s day and age in that it gets stronger as it goes. I would say the back half of the album sets an incredibly high standard, and, while I don’t think the first half is as good, it still has plenty of highlights. Colby and the band have assembled an album that can appeal to a variety of crowds and musical genres. You may not get it on your first listen but the music and hooks will infiltrate your soul and compel you to play this album for a long time to come.

‘Object to Impossible Destination’ is available now.

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Author: Gerald Stansbury

 

The newie from the Southern US songwriter, storyteller and actor is a concept record broadly inspired by the horrors of the Vietnam war and its ongoing impact. Vintage rock’n’roll sound that nods to Tom Petty, The Rolling Stones, Jon Spencer Blues Explosion. 

Like the soundtrack to a movie that doesn’t yet exist, Rod Melancon’s ‘Pinkville; whips up a world filled with shellshocked war veterans, gun-wielding rock & rollers, and other down-on-their-luck characters, mixing cinematic details and electric guitars into its own version of greasy, gothic Americana – Well, that’s what the PR blurb wanted us to believe and to be fair Gothic Americana is a new genre on me.
His songs are indeed dark and his voice which swings from a spoken-word to a croon to a rough-edged howl.  It’s every bit as diverse as the material it delivers. ‘Pinkville’, is his fourth album. You’ve got something approaching psychedelic soul, Traditional Rolling Stones good-time rockers and tributes to the likes of  Tom Petty, and if that’s not enough there is even time for a cover of Bruce Springsteen’s ’57 Channels (And Nothin’ On)’.
‘Pinkville’ draws on personal memories from back home in Louisiana. It was there, that Melancon grew up. During these visits, he’d see this guy who is the central theme for the opening spoken words track that clearly left a mark on Melancon. then to follow it up with a dark bruising number that’s part Alice Cooper part voodoo swamp rocker is a real toe-tapper.
Melancon, uses  Will Walden, as the album’s lead guitarist and co-producer. The son of Emmy-winning composer Snuffy Walden,  In ‘Pinkville’ his tremolo guitar rustles up images of a platoon on patrol, while the Keith Richards-inspired playing of “Westgate” draws on his teenage memories of getting stoned and just being a teen. Its got a similar feel to a lot of the work of John Cougar where he draws on his memories for his subject and sways from Americana to rock and roll and its a really well-constructed song that you just want to nestle near the speaker and let the story wash over you.  The solo is pretty cool on this one as well like he’s riding the volume and trying to soothe the savage feedback and to be fair he succeeds.  ‘Corpus Christi Carwash’ tells the true story of Freddy Fender’s former gig at a car wash, is all 1950s pop ballad with a great traditional progression on the muted chords, while ‘Lord Knows’ gets a groove on like it was still the 1970s.
‘Heartbreakers’ celebrates the influence of Tom Petty — a songwriter who, like Melancon, who came from the South before moving to the city of Angels. He turns his own struggles into a roadhouse rocker with ‘Manic Depression’ a little understated when up against some of the other tracks on the record but all good albums have light and shade. Then to end the record Melancon turns it up during the loud, ‘Cobra’ whilst it’s not racing away more purposeful with the part sung part spoken lyrics again its got light and shade and a decent closing number on an altogether impressive album. A real melting pot of an album to be fair and one I found myself getting lost in and enjoying revisiting it time after time.  If this is Gothic Americana then I’m on board and highly recommend it.  Fill yer boots, my friends,  ‘Pinkville’ was a very pleasant surprise.
Author: Dom Daley

 

Jack “Oblivian” Yarber was an absolute unknown to my ears I’m not afraid to admit even if he is on solo album number seven!.

Finding time doesn’t seem to be a problem for the prolific Yarber as the list of bands Yarber has been a member of over the years is Huge and a review all of its own but he has spent time with Johnny Vomit & the Dry Heaves (a high school punk project that also featured future Squirrel Nut Zipper Jimbo Mathus), ‘80s new-wavers the End, ’68 Comeback, Knaughty Knights, and Tav Falco’s Panther Burns. Two of Yarber’s former bands — the Compulsive Gamblers and the Oblivians — have seen their reputation and following swell in the decade since their demise, especially the Oblivians, whose international fan base borders on rabid. Due largely to his stint in these bands, both partnerships with Greg Cartwright, now of the Reigning Sound, Yarber has been an acknowledged influence on artists such as the White Stripes, the Hives and Jay Reatard. and breath.  Don’t worry I’d only heard of the last three bands as well.

So what do they sound like you ask? Well, its got a melting pot kinda vibe about it but all within the confines of playing some tasty Garage Rock and Roll and some swampy blues thrown in for good measure. The first track is an instrumental bluesy workout that has plenty of guitar choppin’ but in the time-honored tradition of Thunders opening with ‘Pipeline’, it’s not the longest song in the world and helps the listener get comfortable before heading deep into the record.

‘Scarla’ is a stomping bluesy bit of slide driven Rock and Roll with the merest whiff of Psychedelia on those vocals but its a toe-tapper. ‘La Charra’ is brooding but I keep waiting for the drums to kick in over the honking horns but it doesn’t and before you know it the songs moved on.  That’s another point here the songs are pretty short which is why they’ve managed to cram in Sixteen songs. Maybe treat the instrumentals as more like musical interludes while you go get anouther beer from the cooler.  ‘Girl On The Beach’ has a little bit of Reggae going on and does remind me of Jaya the Cat in a weird sort of way.

The recording sounds a little lo-fi but that’s sympathetic to the style the band is bustin’ out ‘Stick To Me’ is like they’re channeling their inner Keith Richards which is never a bad thing right? Right.  That Lo-Fi vibe is never more evident than on ‘Dream Killer’ with its drum machine buzzing by. Things get snotty on ‘Boy In A Bubble’ whilst it sounds like they’re leaning on Wilco Johnson on ‘Funky Blue’.

I love the folkiness of ‘Bank, Gun, Jail’ its like Dylan never happened. Possibly saving the best til last as ‘Loose Diamond’ is Chuck Prophet leading the Urban Voodoo Machine through a slow smoke filled daydream a very decent tune indeed.  I think if some of the chaff was cut away off this record Jack would be sitting on an excellent garage blues album that’s not saying its not a very good record but it might help focus the listener’s attention better or is it just me?  Either way, go check out this cool slab of wax and drift away to something entirely different.

Author: Dom Daley

Beluga Records Here

Ghost Highway Here

Wow,  Every now and then a record comes and absolutely knocks you off your feet from the first listen to the last refrain of the guitar on the last track of the album. Well, Jordan Jones did that to me from the first minute I dropped the needle and the acoustic guitar sounded the battle call for ‘I Wrote You A Song For Me’.

An absolutely blistering ray of sunshine of an album that just screams summertime and plonks a big fat smile across my chops as I drift away lost in the music.

 

Sure,  its nothing more than ten songs with varying tempos played with traditional instruments in a power-pop Rock and Roll style.  Its got swirling organs – acoustic guitars,  overdriven clanging electric guitars and a sweet vocal not a million miles from the late great Marc Bolans tone.  When you sprinkle in some magic dust and glamtastic harmonies – for me, you’re onto a sure-fire winner and this self-titled ray of Californian sunshine is quite simply fucking Brilliant!

‘My Somebody’ plugs straight into a slab of power pop Posies style but with a heart and soul belonging to Ronnie Lane and some of his Faces style of writing tunes that subtle yet awesome melody.  From the swirling organ to the instrumental breaks that lie behind the slightly distorted riffs – Damn this is good.

Without jumping ahead let’s not ignore the opener that grabbed my attention before the first bar had finished. ‘I Wrote You A Song For Me’ is some street fighting riffs on the old acoustic guitar. A melody so sharp you can hang your hat on it – followed by an almighty arrangement. You might think I’m getting a tad carried away here but this album really is twelve inches of sunshine and great songs.

‘Understood’ is carefree trash ‘n’ roll as it just throws its arms in the air and rocks out as a good power pop song should. Well, one that’s got a dash of The Boys-style punk rock pumping round its heart. ‘No Makeup’ deffo has a hint of The Faces about it as we tread down the familiar pattern of Girls – love – loss – heartache – breakups –  you know the kind of stuff Rock and Roll has always been about – nothing too heavy here.

I couldn’t pick a favourite that would be unkind to the other track but ‘Rumour Girl’ comes pretty close to the top.  Plenty of energy great harmonies and arrangement.  ‘Waiting’ is a slower more peaceful meander like a Teenage Fanclub song with a real 70s edge to the melody. If you don’t like ‘Be My Baby’ then I’d seriously check your pulse it’s like The Exploding Hearts never went away and a fantastic rocker with jangly guitars mixed in for good measure.

Just to back up my gushing praise of this record it seems to get stronger and stronger and unlike many album front-ending the best tunes this one is easing you in gently so your heart doesn’t skip a beat by the time you reach the simple yet so effective acoustic twelve-string pickings of ‘Do You Want To Hang Out’ with its super harmonica break – it’s as simple as that –  storytelling in the same vein as say a Kevin Jr or a Nikki Sudden its just plain and simple and comes across as effortless and hits the spot so so well. The album ends with the gentle ‘Oh My Heavenz’ yup a song with a glam rock Z on the end.  Jordan Jones has released one of the finest debut solo albums of the year.  This guy should be a superstar it comes across as effortless to Jordan but I’m sure it isn’t.  Don’t think about it just buy this record!

Buy Jordan Jones Here (USA)

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Not many guitar players can get away with 3 names, it takes a special kind of player to pull it off. Like his hero Stevie Ray Vaughn before him, Kenny Wayne Shepherd proudly wears his three names across his catalogue of music.

Since bursting onto the scene in the mid-90s, Kenny Wayne has put out album after album of guitar-heavy, Texas-tinged blues rock. He wears his influences on his sleeve and that’s ok because he always puts a spin on things that is distinctly his own.

I’ve been a fan of Kenny for a long time and I’ve spent hours jamming along to his records and trying to capture that incredible Stratocaster tone he produces. His latest offering, The Traveler is no exception.

From the first listen of opening track Woman Like You, I’m hooked. Kenny always starts his albums with an up tempo rocker and this track stands strong to kick off proceedings. Sticking with the hard and driving feel, Long Time Running keeps my head bobbing. Vocalist Noah Hunt sounds on top form and Kenny’s guitar player is just excellent as always. I don’t think I’ve heard this guy play a bad note.

From listening to his back catalogue and seeing him live, I always feel his playing takes on another level in some of his more spacious and slower songs. The third track I Want You has a long guitar solo, but who cares? When someone is playing like that, it can go on for as long as they want it to. It’s full of soul, heart and fire.

Tailwind and Gravity follow up with a dip in tempo to a nice, chilled acoustic lead section of the album. It might feel like the band are taking a breather here, but these songs still kick some serious ass. The chorus of Tailwind was just written to be sung by a room full of music lovers. Gravity is just full of gorgeous melodies and a guitar solo that could make a grown man cry. How he coaxes those notes from a guitar no one will ever know.

I feel that this album offers a bit more head bobbing rockers than the last album from Kenny and co. We All Alright keeps us thundering along with it’s thumping drums and huge chorus.

Take It On Home is one for the lovers in the house. A tender ode to coming home to the place and person you love. Kenny spends a lot of the year on the road so you can certainly believe every word he sings on this track. And yes, I do keep saying it… but wow… what a guitar solo!

Mr. Soul might sound like a familiar riff. It’s very much a Stones influence. I mean, it’s from the right era. Originally written in 1967 by Neil Young for Buffalo Springfield, this riff has given listeners over the years many hours of ahem… Satisfaction.

Every album has got to have one song that makes the listener say “that’s about me!”. It’s that feeling of relating that keeps us coming back to our favourite tracks. Better With Time for me, is that track. It’s an ode to growing up, loving, losing and learning. Like a fine wine, life sometimes gets better with age as we grow older and wiser. Kenny and the band have captured that exact feeling.

The album closes with the Joe Walsh penned Turn To Stone, this has all the southern stomp you need to get on down. Infectious grooves fill the song before the wah-drenched lead guitar epic that kicks in before the second verse. This is only a short lead burst though; Kenny is saving his ammo for the big shootout in the middle of the song.  From 2 minutes and 10 seconds in, the vocals are out. We’re reminded firmly why we came here, to listen to some damn fine guitar playing. For the next 2 minutes, we belong to Kenny Wayne Shepherd as he takes us on a journey through loud and quiet, up and down, fast and slow before bringing the album to a crashing close.

The Traveler has taken me on a journey. Pack your bags, it’s your turn now.

Buy The Traveler Here

Author: Leigh Fuge