Hot off the presses: new music! Better said, new music that is worth your time.
Left Lane Cruiser – Shake and Bake – 10 tracks / 39 minutes
Two parts excellent guitar, one part marijuana inspiration, 100% awesome.
This review will be short and sweet, because well, that’s just the way it is. Fans of LLC will thoroughly enjoy this record, as it sounds like the boys doing their thing (southern delta blues mixed with grungy-rock attitude and an almost reggae love of pot) at their best. Don’t take them as a novelty act, they are far from it. This is genuinely groovy rock and roll with soul, of their own variety.
Joe Evans IV sounds engaged and strong as ever, and the band continues to embrace their ever-present weed influence. If you are not familiar with this band, but enjoy riff rock or aggressive blues music, you need to know these guys. While Shake and Bake, their 9th studio album by my count, is not their finest (see Dirty Spliff Blues or the quasi-best of Beck in Black), it is an excellent batch of songs that stays very close to their wheelhouse.
My highlights on Shake and Bake are “Smooth Commander”, an ode to Joe’s father, a ship captain who when home also loved playing the blues (Muddy Waters and the Stones are referenced), and the best riff on the album which is found on “Sweat Love to Shine”. Finally, “Mule Plow Line” is a great song about loving and pleasing a lady that features a Jimbo Mathus shoutout.
Key Tracks: “Smooth Commander”, “Shake and Bake”, “Sweat Love to Shine”
Spotify album link: https://open.spotify.com/album/2SvkGae4Chwgj44HiDW2yi?si=VHsecFlBSxOpS40wcBgTlw
Duff McKagan – Tenderness
Many remember this guy as the party animal and bassist for Guns and Roses, or the fact that the beer in The Simpsons was named after him. This album came as a surprise to me as it finds Mr. McKagan on piano and quite a bit of mellowed out acoustic guitar, crooning about politics and social issues. Overall this album is hit and miss, but “Parkland” is a powerful reminder of the incessant gun violence and our lack of response to it. “Falling Down” and the title track are also solid listens. Call this the out of the blue album of the month, for sure.
Kenny Wayne Shephard – The Traveler
Well, I am not a big fan of Mr. Shephard’s, but his take on my man Neil’s “Mr. Soul” (from all the way back in 1966 with Buffalo Springfield) is very tasty and the six-minute blues romp “I Want You” is truly epic.
Kishi Bashi – Omoiyari
Doug Tuttle – Dream Road
Sacred Paws – Run Around the Sun