Just keep that thought.
Iconic musicians always have a weight upon their shoulders of having never to fail with their next album or single. To fail can tarnish their pristine aura and reputation. Something that can overshadow years of success…
So is this new album ‘Take it on Faith’ from Gary Rossington, legendary founding member of Lynyrd Skynyrd and his wife Dale, queen of southern rock, the end of the road? Is this the music that shows they should stop now? Go out on top and leave well alone? Especially since it was the 80s since their last album under the Rossington banner.
Who’s kidding who? The southern tinged genius of Rossington is far from even being tired.
From the first few notes of ‘Highway of Love’ you know you can relax, sit back cup that tumbler of sweet JD in your hand and ease off down that dusty hot road of your mind as you meander towards a thing of beauty. There is no mistaking the southern bluesy rock feel that just makes you feel good.
The second song ‘I should’ve known’ is a beautifully crafted piece of southern gospel made to push passion into your soul through its superb blues gospel sound overlaid by Dales powerful sexy gravelly voice pushing through full of old time emotion. It’s perfectly composed with the rhythm and blues guitar, drums and organ pulling you in and showing you a pew in the Church of the Blues.
Now we take it easy with the title track ‘Take it on Faith’ with a stunningly soft slow walk along the river bank as the sun heats the ground you walk on in a midday haze, or as you hold your partner close in a slow content dance in the evening heat. Soppy this may sound but the emotional response you get from this beautifully crafted track is pure and raw. Superb.
Next is ‘Light a Candle’ another gorgeous slow cooking gospel style song that just connects with your soul. Its catchy and feels just right.
Light up the stove, Y’all, as moma sticks on the pot to show you it’s best to ‘Dance while you’re Cookin’. This is a superb honky tonk raunchy song that is so upbeat you might actually dance in your kitchen. The southern style slide guitar sound resonates throughout perfectly complimenting Dale’s delivery of her cheeky grin style vocals.
Then we move to the smouldering blues delivery of ‘Shame on Me’. This song sounds like they’re channelling Gary Moore at his best. A heartfelt blues rock track of raw emotion once again perfectly topped with Dale’s pure bluesy vocals.
At this point you may wish to take a break or even start all over again. No, not that the rest is not as good. It’s just purely to feel the power of the previous six songs again just to make sure the power of those tracks weren’t a fluke. And not a single impression will change and you’ll wonder how the hell can they have that many good songs before your mind gets blown with the next six songs.
First song on this continuation of blues heaven is ‘Good side of Good’ a rocking rolling track firmly grounded in a southern blues foundation. Upbeat, catchy and superb.
We go on to a slow potent song with ‘Through My Eyes’ a love song that is incredibly powerful and raw. This is the soul stripped back type that reaches down to the bottom of your gut and twists it in either a good way or bad depending on whether or not you have just found your soul mate or just broke up with them.
Now we have ‘Something Fishy’ another fantastic honky tonk swinging piece of blues rock that trundles along with a perfectly lazy gait that will have your foot tapping in time. The sexy raunchy drawl of Dale’s vocals once again accentuates the track with a pure deep blues power that powers the song.
Put up the umbrella now as we listen to ‘Too Many Rainy Days” a track that would sit perfectly in a hot and stuffy gin joint contaminated with the hazy waft of cigarette smoke trawling through dry air. The fantastic easy drawling blues riffs from Gary are a thing to behold on this track especially beautifully complimented by the rhythm and blues hammering on the piano. The raw blues emotional weight on this track is mind blowing. It resonates so much with Gary Moore’s ‘Still got the Blues’. This is blues rock of the highest order.
The penultimate song ‘Where Did The Love Go” is another emotionally laden song that is as stripped back and raw as it can go. This is a guilty pleasure break up song that a towering hulk of a tattoo covered monster won’t feel embarrassed in having a “Having something in their eye - leaking around the eyes” listening experience.
Finally we have ‘Two Very Different Things” that proves once again the Christopher Walken adage – you can never have too much cow bell. A great track to finish off the album with. A lighter defiant rebellious cheeky style song that rolls along quite nicely, thank you very much.
This is definitely a “Put on repeat” album that you can very easily find yourself listening to over and over again.
Strangely this album will feel so much closer to you if you have ever watched the like of “The Ranch” as it seems to encapsulate the sitcom perfectly. Or indeed if you have ever watched the classic blues movie “Crossroads”.
This album pumps out beautiful passionate compelling blues music that lets you know you do indeed have emotions in your cold hard metal body.
This is a must have album. Seriously. Even if blues or southern rock isn’t totally your thing this is an album that will easily fit into your collection. It’s that damn good.
Keep the Faith is out on 4th November 2016.
Review by Ivor Whitten