It won’t be easy to top the auditory splendor of last week’s top, five, but here at Rock is the New roll we do the work so you don’t have to.
American Authors will tickle your earbuds with the ebullient “We Happy.”
The classic rockers The Answer is busy twirling the knobs putting out their first record in 7 years releasing Livin’ On The Line in advance of an album that is sure to be a pure rocker.
And, Mott the Hoople modster Ian Hunter has a new album to April 23rd with “Bed of Roses” providing a taste of what the record is all about.
But enough of the preamble, here are five savory nuggets to assault your eardrums this week.
The Winery Dogs – III
Despite the lack of imagination in selecting the album title, The latest Winery Dogs record is a blast of a Rock and Roll record. A supergroup consisting of Richie Kotzen, Billy Sheehan, and Mike Portnoy, you would likely get into the dozens without breathing hard if you were to list the number of bands past and present that have engaged their service. Mike Portnoy currently is in Sons of Apollo, Mr. Big, and is the co-founder of Dream Theatre, and Richie Kotzen was a consort of David Coverdale in Whitesnake for many years.
This time out, the veteran rockers deliver a solid set of tunes that land somewhere along the road of MC-5 riffage, early grunge, and ’80s Sunset Strip sleaze-rock. Richie Kotzen’s voice melds quite spectacularly, the bass solos on “Rise” is worth the admission alone, and Mike Portnoy lays down a back-beat worthy of any power trio you want to name including The Jimi Hendrix Experience and SRV’s Double Trouble.
Avoiding the tendency to stretch out the songs with an extended solo here and there on “Gaslight” the ears are treated to a sonic blast that is some cool hybrid of Montrose and Deep Purple, “Lorelei” is a low and slow ballad that spotlights the vocal, and The Red Wine has a bit of a Southern rock flair to spice things up a bit.
All in all, fret for fret, this one is right up there with Black Star Riders when it comes to solid real rock and roll records that have been released this year.
Larry Cambell & Theresa Williams – Live at Levon’s
Delivering the feelgood record of the year husband and wife team Larry Cambell and Theresa Williams have released a vibrant new live record, where the venue, Levon Helms studio in Woodstock, N.Y., has so much magic attached to it consideration should be given to adding the barn as an official band member.
The song selections are loose-limbed and the appreciative audience reaction to the perfomances adds to the overall ambiance of the recording. Willams, who led the infamous Midnight Ramble at the venue until Levon’s death in 2012, is in fine form on fiddle, pedal steel, and lead guitar while wife Theresa handles the bulk of the vocal duties.
The songs inherent on this record are peppy rockabilly style with highlights including a rousing cover of “Big River,” a fun version of Lois Prima’s “Yeah Yeah Yeah,” and a poignant version of the Loretta Lynn love lost ballad “Success.”
A fun romp from start to finish, if you are looking for a feel-good escape Live at Levon’s should be your jam.
Jarrod Dickenson – Big Talk
Current Nashvillian by way of Brooklyn and Waco, Tx., Jarrod Dickenson is a stellar Americana singer songwriter on the rise. Tilting just slightly over to the Country side of the fence, there is also a Tom Petty influence that permeates the ether on this one.
The songwriting here is first rate, case in point “Home Again,” and “if You’re Looking.” Listen closely, and a bit of a Rolling Stones guitar lick emerges on “With Any Luck,” a song that has a Lucas Nelson and the Promise of the Real feel to it, and “Bamboozled” surges forward with a bit of a New Orleans dirge flavor.
An exciting new find, this Outlaw Country adjacent artist should be moved from below your rader right up to the top.
DeWolff – Love, Death & In Between
Nothing if not prolific, Dutch rockers DeWolff has just released their fourth album in the last three years, and it’s retro-riffic.
With a sound that features the mighty Hammond organ prominently, the band lays down a groove of ‘70s rock, psychedelic soul, old-school funk, and Deep Purple classic rock.
White Reaper and Black Star Riders will have something to say, and the new Nude Party album has yet to see the light of ear, but this one might be rock record of the year after all is said and done.
Robert Forster- The Candle and the Flame
As the lead singer of the Australian band the Go-Betweens, Robert Forster certainly knows his way around a pop song or a brooding ballad with these skill sets on prominent display on his new record, The Candle and the Flame.
Beginning with the first two songs, “She’s a Fighter,” along with “Tender Years,” a tribute to Forster’s wife who is dealing with an ovarian cancer diagnosis, and playing things forward to “When I Was a Young Man,” Forster sets a reflective tone that seems to honor the spirit of deceased band mate in the Go-Between’s the Lennon to his McCartney, Grant McLennan.
And, for extra credit, make sure to check out his book The Ten Rules of Rock and Roll, a compilation of his writing for the Australian magazine monthly.