One of the first reviews I did for RPM online was for the self-titled Smith/Kotzen album that was released in March 2021. A great album it is too! Fast forward to November last year and the boys released an EP called Better Days which was a limited edition 12” vinyl for Record Store Day. This was more of the same blues driven rock with the edge that you would expect from two of metal’s most prestigious guitarists.

Fans weren’t too happy about it being a vinyl/streaming only release though. Worry not Smith/Kotzen fans…your prayers have been answered! Here we have a CD/digital release of Better Days along with five live tracks that were recorded on the US and UK legs of their whistle stop tours at the beginning of 2022, hence the …And Nights added to the title. Clever, eh?

For the purposes of this review, I’ll just concentrate on the live material. You really get the feeling of being there at the intimate venues that the tracks were recorded at, and the songs really come alive with a sense of urgency and a slightly faster pace. No doubt pushed on with adrenaline which is a trademark of most great live recordings. (Go and listen to Maiden’s Live After Death to see what I mean). The whole band, which are completed by Julia Lage on bass and drummer Bruno Valerde, sound fantastic. Some extended guitar theatrics are thrown in (obviously) which really add to the songs. The highlight for me is the track Scars from the debut. It takes on a life of its own live, a big fat groove along with some Hendrix inspired guitar work. You Don’t Know Me plods along nicely with some nice cymbal work from Valerde. Final track Running closes the mini live album nicely, Julia Lage really shows her prowess here.

This is a nice little package for fans and shows that the guys really do think about the content they are releasing to ensure there’s something for everyone. Tidy stuff!

Buy Here

Author: Kenny Kendrick