Rugby Road – III

There is nothing lively about its title but the new EP from US rock band Rugby Road, simply called III, more than makes up for that with its heartily tenacious sound. An encounter which like us you may have missed upon its release as 2016 closed its eyes; the four track encounter is an ear pleasing, skilfully offered slice of multi-flavoured rock ‘n’ roll as bluesy and passionate as it is melodically captivating and instinctively boisterous.

Consisting of Kenny Kearns (vocals, keyboards, bass, guitar), Rich Pruett (drums, percussion, vocals), and Derek Smith (guitars, vocals), Philadelphia based Rugby Road began in 1990 drawing on inspirations found in the likes of Allman Brothers Band, Maceo Parker, Rusted Root, Bill Kreutzmann, Phish, Peter Frampton, and Dirty Dozen Brass Band. A regular in the late 90’s New York City Wetlands scene, the band has released a pair of albums, the 1998 unveiled Times Already Happened and three years later Different Degrees. More recently Kearns and the band have founded The Wayne Music Festival (now officially WXPN Welcomes The Wayne Music Festival) which since starting in 2015 has attracted more than 10,000 people each year to enjoy everything from country, bluegrass, jazz, pop, and rock from artists coming together from all over the country.

Recorded with producer Derek Chafin, III offers songs which according to Kearns “reflect what we’ve been working towards for years from a writing perspective.” It opens up with Back To You, a track which unmistakably has a rich feel of Bruce Springsteen to its rock ‘n’ roll but soon shows its own imaginative enterprise as suggestive melodies unite with the darker and denser rhythmic shadows of bass and Pruett’s crisp beats. Swiftly its magnetism is inescapable, the track a flame of craft and instinctive employment of influences and new endeavour, and just as quickly powerfully catchy. With a collection of vocals at times surrounding Kearns and the additional irresistible tones of a lady whose name has yet to be discovered, the song only escalates an attraction already sparked by the hazy weave cast by guitars.

The following Nobody (Needs To Know) is just as magnetic, it’s mellower but no less tenacious balladry carrying a soulful air and heart as blues kissed guitars spin a web of enticement around Kearns’ continually strong vocals. As with its predecessor, there is something quickly familiar to the song but only spicing adding to its appeal as its classic rock breeding grabs eager ears.

Spoken For unveils an even calmer canvas for its own emotive ballad next, though again it is a song with a blaze in its belly which from time to time urges more intensive expulsions of sound and energy. With the earthy tones of the bass almost growling alongside the contemplation of melody and voice, the song smoulders and slowly grows to rival those before it; eclipsing its immediate predecessor over time.

Bringing things to an enjoyable close is Give It Away, a country rock lined slice of rock which again has something of Springsteen about it as well as a Tom Petty-esque essence which does it no harm at all. For personal tastes, the song fails to match its companions but there is no denying its infectious ability to please as keenly tapping feet here can testify and it is fair to say that with every listen thoughts about the song only gain a more enamoured lilt.

Though it is annoying to say, we are new to Rugby Road but after having III sparking definite pleasure with its accomplished and refreshing presence, we can join the mass of others calling themselves fans of the band.

III is out now across most online stores.

http://rugbyroadband.com/    https://www.facebook.com/rugbyroadband

Pete RingMaster 10/05/2017

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

Simo – Let Love Show The Way

SIMO-band_RingMaster Review

Though their new album is our introduction to Simo, it is noticeable that the striking craft and potent tones of vocalist/guitarist JD Simo seem to be the main focus of attention with a great many. As proven by the compelling Love Show The Way, the Nashville based band is so much more though. From the magnetically roving bass grooves of Elad Shapiro and the tenacious enterprise of drummer Adam Abrashoff to the evocative songwriting and its fiery realisation, Simo is one potent unit made up of creatively integral parts.

It is fair to say though that JD Simo, a musician begging his parents for a guitar at the age of five and regularly playing bars backed by older musicians by 10 years old, is a mighty lure to the Joe Bonamassa favourite’s fusion of blues, southern rock, and classic R&B with jazz fuelled enterprise. The background to Let Love Show The Way is in itself as alluring also. Recorded at Macon, Georgia’s Big House, the communal home of the Allman Brothers Band during their late sixties/early seventies heyday, what we hear in ears was not the proposition planned for the first album to be recoded at the famous site. Heading into the recording, Simo has a whole different set of tracks primed for the release with the visit primarily to record a couple of bonus tracks for the album. With engineer Nick Worley involved too, band and passion “caught fire” in the inspirational surroundings with a dozen tracks being burnt down in less than 48 hours; songs spawned with raw and electrifying intensity that inspired the band to change direction and go with what organically grew there and then. JD himself summed up the moment, “As the producer of the project, I couldn’t live with myself if we didn’t use these songs, I just felt it was better than anything the band had ever captured so we decided to scrap the original record and build this new one around everything we recorded at the Big House.

SIMO_RingMaster ReviewWith each track recorded live in complete takes and without any edits, Let Love Show the Way quickly grips attention with opener Stranger Blues, a cover of the Elmore James classic. Shimmering into view, the song is soon eagerly dancing in ears, riffs and rhythms a feisty shuffle whilst grooves as good as flirt from Duane Allman’s 1957 gold-top Les Paul which JD played on every song within the album. It is a sizzling lure of a start which only strengthens as Two Timin’ Woman offers its own bluesy flame guided by the enjoyably unpredictable and dynamic rhythms of Abrashoff as well as the dark tempting of Shapiro’s bass.

An even rawer edge lines the scuzzy lure of Can’t Say Her Name next whilst I Lied has a rough psych rock air to its grouchily infectious proposal; both tracks riveting weaves of vocal prowess and heart linked to skittish rhythms and slightly antagonistic riffs bound in searing tendrils of blues imagination. The second of the pair is especially flavoursome and irresistibly imposing before the lovely and mischievous rock ‘n’ roll of Please has body and emotions stomping around like a teen with its catchy slice of blues rock.

The Celtic spiced Long May You Sail is another instantly stirring the imagination with its adventurously individual escapade whilst I’ll Always Be Around sighs, pulsates, and rumbles with magnetic southern blues melancholy before Becky’s Last Occupation writhes and swings within its groove infested fire to re-ignite the physical side of the body after its emotion feeding predecessor. Each of the trio creates tapestries of chaotic adventure and surprising twists which sublimely and dynamically unite for inescapable temptation.

The heated sounds keep ears fired up as I’d Rather Die In Vain explores a jazz lined web of sonic imagination and experimental invention matched by a dynamic rhythmic punch. The track is a glorious off-kilter incitement leaving the senses and imagination enflamed and then gentle seduced by the acoustic instrumental grace of Today I Am Here.

With a great trio of bonus tracks in the outstanding Let Love Show The Way, the fiercely sultry Ain’t Doin’ Nothin’, and the provocatively crooning Please Be With Me completing the CD and digital versions of the album, Let Love Show The Way leaves enjoyment eagerly flowing. As Simo lives up to all the potent praise and declarations heard before music touched ears, theirs is an album with the inclination to please any rock ‘n’ roll fan let alone those with an appetite for the blues,

Let Love Show The Way is released January 29th via Provogue Records/ Mascot Label Group @ http://www.mascotlabelgroup.com/simo-letloveshowtheway-cd.html

http://www.simo.fm/   https://www.facebook.com/simotheband

Pete RingMaster 29/01/2016

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

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