The Record Box for Sunday, November 8th

Another Country Rod Stewart (I-Tunes purchase) ****This is Rod Stewart’s 29th album overall, his second of original material since his unexpectedly lucrative run of American Songbook records. ‘Mature’ is an odd word to use when discussing pop or rock & roll,  but that’s what Another Country is- a collection of songs by Stewart that reflect where he’s at in life, an album that can stand proudly with the best of his 80’s work.“I’ve found that the only way to write songs is to be as personal and honest as possible” Rod says. “And with my last album being so well received (2013’s Time), it gave me the confidence to keep on writing.  It also gave me the freedom to experiment with different sounds like reggae, ska and Celtic melodies.”  Indeed, Another Country is the sound of a man comfortable in his own skin.  It may not possess the bawdy recklessness of his early records that we fell in love with, but how sad would it be if a man of 70 was still writing songs about banging chicks and getting wasted?  Critic Ludovic Hunter of The Financial Times (had no idea they reviewed music) says the new record “leaves one mourning the roaring roustabout of old”, but I disagree- he’s missing the point entirely.According to Rod’s Wikipedia page, sessions for this album took place in his home, utilizing Pro Tools.  The title track was inspired by Rod’s admiration and respect for the armed forces, and the song Batman Superman Spiderman (no word on who the children’s voices are on this) was written abut the bedtime stories he would tell his youngest son.  Another Country has been getting decidedly mixed reviews, but the songs others seem to find “cheesy and hollow” I find charming and earnest.  I’ve been a fan since Gasoline Alley and Every Picture Tells A Story, and my wife spent a small fortune on concert tickets to see him in Vegas last year- something we would do again in a heartbeat.To call Another Country nostalgic and sentimental is entirely accurate and hardly a criticism, to me- this from a fan that found most of his American Songbook material mawkish and shallow; it felt like he was coasting. The guy that sang songs like Maggie May and Tonight’s The Night is a father and grandfather, still possessing of a fine voice, but given to writing and singing different kinds of songs now.  Perhaps the success of the Songbook albums made it okay for him to write and sing these songs- that’s a good thing.  All those other critics can get stuffed- I like this record a lot, thank you very much.ESSENTIALS:  Walking In The Sunshine, Love And be Loved, title track SONGS FROM THE ROAD Thorbjorn Risager & The Black Tornado (Ruf) *****The newest instalment of Ruf Records’ incredible From The Road series comes from a surprise international hit band, Thorbjorn Risgar & The Black Tornado.  2014’s Too Many Roads went global and this entirely justified live treatment is a joy.This 7 piece road hardened blues outfit from Denmark was augmented on this recording by a horn section and the sound is colossal.  Risgar and his confederates have perfected a spicy blend of musical ingredients- funk, boogie and down in the gutter blues.  Recorded live at The Harmonie in Bonn, Germany, you could’ve heard a pin drop during China Gate as the audience hangs on every note, and the arrangement of their version of Baby Please Don’t Go is surely something that Van Morrison wishes he had cooked up.The hundreds of shows Risager and his band have logged over the last few years have them running like a well oiled machine, and there is nary a misstep in these grooves- unusual for a live album.  His gruff voice is well suited for the songs and he wields that hollow bodied guitar like a lethal weapon.  These guys know their groove, they know exactly what needs to be done, and they execute their duties flawlessly.  They play with passion and precision, it is a genuine thrill to hear a band this good taking flight.More great things are on the horizon for Thorbjorn Risager & The Black Tornado but until we get there, we have this brilliant document of a band that is quietly revolutionizing the way we look at the blues.  Dig in- this is the really good stuff.ESSENTIALS:  If You Wanna Leave, Baby Please Don’t Go, China Gate METHOD TO MY MADNESS Tommy Castro & The Painkillers (Alligator)  **** ½ Tommy Castro is a guy that will never let you down, and boy howdy does he deliver on his brand new album for Alligator!  Described by The San Francisco Chronicle as “funky southern soul, big city blues and classic rock (with) silvery guitar licks that simultaneously sound familiar and fresh”, Method To My Madness is, simply put, one hell of an album.I have maybe half of Castro’s albums and have been into his stuff since he was on Blind Pig.  “With the new album I was trying to get back to my basic ingredients” notes Castro; “blues and soul.  I went for the energy of connecting with my band.  We kept everything raw, capturing the feeling of playing live.”  Tommy adds “I’m not about being perfect- I’m about being real.”This 4 man unit is about as tight as they come.  Castro (on guitar & vocals) is joined by Michael Emerson on keys, Randy McDonald on bass and backup vocals, and Bowen Brown on drums and backup vocals.  The thousands of miles they have traveled together on the road and the countless hours they’ve spent together on stage really show in these performances.  Tommy says he’s about being real, and that comes across loud and clear in these 12 tracks, most either written or co-written by Castro.  Whether it’s a deep soul ballad like Died & Gone To Heaven or a hard charging number like the opening cut Common Ground, they want us to feel every note, every nuance, every groove- it’s  hard NOT to!Blues and soul that rocks this hard, Tommy Castro & The Painkillers have the goods to be as big as Stevie Ray Vaughan & Double Trouble, if Method To My Madness is any yardstick to measure by.  This is rockin’ blues, a good time of the highest order, extremely well played with musicianship out the wazoo- it’s definitely the good stuff!ESSENTIALS:  Died & Gone To Heaven, Common Ground, Lose Lose   LEAD BELLY’S GOLD Eric Bibb &JJ Milteau (Stony Plain) *****What a wonderful set of songs, recorded to honour Huddy Ledbetter, a/k/a Lead Belly.  With 11 tracks recorded live at the Parisian jazz club The Sunset and 5 more studio tunes, Gold is both reverent and joyful, a celebration of an amazing body of work that should be enjoyed by folk fans in particular and music fans in general.“It’s hard to remember when I first heard Lead Belly’s music because, somehow he’s always been around” says award winning roots artist Bibb in the liner notes. “The sound of his 12 string guitar is part of my DNA.”  Of Ledbetter Jean Jacques Milteau, an acclaimed French harmonic player, observes “Endowed with an uncommon talent, he generated around his person a sense of fraternity that awarded him the protective help of the Lomaxes, favoured artistic collaborations with Pete Seeger and other liberals in the 1940’s, and aroused the empathy of the young audiences he loved to entertain.”The majority of these tracks were recorded live, with or without an audience present, to foster a freshness in the performances, and that worked gangbusters.  Lead Belly spread his music by performing live in front of mostly smaller audiences, and so Bibb and Milteau sought to tap that same energy by recording most of these songs at that small club.  The songs are heartfelt and immediate, with many of the performances being quietly inspiring.  Even if you’ve never heard a Lead Belly record, you might be surprised by how many of these songs you know, like Midnight Special and House Of The Rising Sun- it’s good to celebrate these songs again.“Lead Belly was a human jukebox” summarizes Bibb.  “He knew hundreds of songs that he’d either heard somewhere and adapted, or written himself.  Authorship of many of the songs he sang has long been a controversial topic of heated debate in folk music circles.”  The handful of songs on this disc represent some of his better known tunes, the ebullient performances by Bibb and Milteau shedding new light on some old classics, as we enjoy these songs all over again.  Eric’s singing and his guitar playing are riveting, and JJ’s harp playing adds much to the songs without showing off or trying to hog the spotlight.   That they thoroughly enjoyed playing these songs is clear- great tunes aside, that’s what makes Lead Belly’s Gold so much fun to listen to.  Surely this is one THE essential albums of 2015.ESSENTIALS:  When That Train Comes Along, Where Did You Sleep Last Night, Midnight Special RAISE YOUR HANDS Sam Butler (Severn) *** ½ This is the first solo recording for the former Blind Boys Of Alabama guitarist, a bluesy set of spiritually infused songs written by mainly secular artists that aims to please. Butler is joined by an impressive list of stellar musicians including drummer Marco Giovino (Robert Plant, Tom Jones) and bassist Viktor Kraus (Lyle Lovett, Bill Frisell) and all together they make a beautiful noise.“I wanted to make a bluesy and rootsy album of spiritual songs originally performed by traditionally secular artists” says producer Brian Brinkerhoff.  “Having been familiar with Sam’s roots and gospel work with The Blind Boys Of Alabama and Clarence Fountain, I approached him with the idea and we quickly enlisted an A-team of players.”  These dozen songs include numbers that have been performed by Springsteen, Clapton, Tom Waits, Van Morrison, Johnny Cash and more.  Butler’s guitar playing is fiery and rough around the edges in just the right way, passionate, his gravely voice just right to deliver particular set of tunes.Aside from The Blind Boys, Sam Butler also worked with Keith Richards on his 1989 album Talk Is Cheap so gospel influences aside, Sam has a rugged rock & roll thing going on that other people have tapped into.  Raise Your Hands is an appropriate title for this album as it runs the gamut of energy and emotion from quiet, introspect numbers to the rollicking up-tempo stuff.  I’m certain that the people that did these songs before Sam Butler got his hands on them appreciate what he was able to bring to the table here- some of these versions certainly a lot more raw than the ones that came before.From Sam’s lips to Gods ears these songs are a real celebration, and Raise Your Hands has the power to see you through some hard times- isn’t that what good music should do?ESSENTIALS: Full Force Gale, Presence Of The Lord, Long Black Cadillac CRAZY THINGS Duane Rutter (Busted Flat) *****Here is the third disc for this native of Hamilton, Ontario, a collection of songs that combine traditional country with outlaw sensibilities tinged with modern sounds and even a hint of psychedelia. A very intriguing mix of ideas, to be sure.Sometimes it’s a song or melody line that pulls me into a record, but this time it was the first lyric line of the first song Don’t Forget that did the trick; There’s a look you get, when you’ve got something heavy on your mind… had me figuring “I like the way this guy thinks.”   Founding member of The Band, Garth Hudson, lent his talents to Crazy Things, as did his wife Sister Maud Hudson.  “This album is a significant departure from my earlier work, as it’s musically more aggressive and sonically experimental” says Rutter. “The opportunity to work with one of my heroes, Garth Hudson, was an amazing experience as he is truly one of modern music’s great minds.”Country is mostly what this record is, and that’s fine by me.  Rutter has the life experience to fill these songs with interesting stories from his own path.  As a published poet, preacher, gravedigger, hell raiser, tobacco picker and general bad ass, he’s earned the right to sings songs just like these.  What cheeses me off about most modern country is the artificialness of it, that you can feel the songwriter just trying to combine the ingredients required for a hit song.  I like country songs that feel like they should be sung, that really need to be heard, and that sums up how the 10 songs on this disc feel.  The PR sheet that came with the CD posits that if you dig Guy Clark, Townes Van Zandt, Bruce Springsteen and Lightnin’ Hopkins that you’ll like this too.  This sounds like a batch of tunes Steve Earle could’ve written so yeah- I’d buy that.In many ways this is traditional country, but emotionally, it goes deeper- the lyrics are gritty, and the pedal steel of Steve Wood is the icing on the cake as it were.  Crazy Things is one of the coolest records I’ve heard this year in any genre, and country radio programmers with any taste should be busting out several songs on this disc.ESSENTIALS:  Don’t Forget, title track, Who Found Who FALLEN Stryper (Frontiers) *****Well holy hell- pardon the pun- if Stryper hasn’t just put out one of the best sounding traditional heavy metal albums of the year if not the decade. Write them off as a ‘Christian rock band’ at your own peril, this is a seriously rockin’ set of songs.There’s a lot to be said for perseverance. Stryper has been around for 30 years, and I wrote them off in the 80’s as just another hair band with a gimmick- their Christian faith, and that stupid black and yellow striped motif. Then, a couple of things happened to get my attention again. After the suicide of Boston’s singer Brad Delp in 2007, Singer/ guitarist Michael Sweet stepped in to help with some shows and I thought “Hey, the guy from Stryper- wonder what they’re up to?” Then, in 2013, the record label sent me a download link for their then-new album No More Hell To Pay and I gave it a spin out of idle curiosity. Then feeling then was “Wait- THESE are THOSE guys?  No way!” That record made it clear that Stryper was a band to take seriously on a musical level, and Fallen is having the same effect.Why I like Fallen so much has mostly to do with the musicianship- walls of nasty, crunchy riffs, a driving beat (except on the ballads, of course!) and razor sharp soloing that can strip the paint off your car. It’s solid, muscular, expertly produced (by Michael Sweet) guitar driven rock & roll that’s a joy to listen to. As for their faith-based message, at this point I’m just hearing the vocals as another musical element- there’ll be time for that once the music is absorbed.“In the past 30 years, we’ve evolved into what we are now” says Sweet. “I love the progression. The story of Stryper is that of an underdog- we go against the grain with everything we do.” One can be forgiven for thinking that the music here can seem at odds with the theological bent of Stryper’s lyrics, but I don’t eel that’s the truth of it. They are passionate about their beliefs, and that matches the passion and precision with which the band plays.For all the heaviness, Fallen has the power to uplift- and what’s more rebellious than that? “I want everyone to walk away with excitement, encouragement and joy” says Sweet. “It’s not about being heavy or dark, it’s about sharing this energy- I hope they press the ‘repeat’ button and feel blown away.” Stryper is still Michael sweet on vocals and guitars, Robert Sweet on drums, Tim Gaines on bass, and Oz Fox on guitars and, like a bottle of wine, they just get better with age. Fallen is well played hard rock, and one of my favourite albums of the year- no guff.ESSENTIALS: After Forever (Black Sabbath cover), Fallen, Call Me No One, King Of KingsDEF LEPPARD Def Leppard (Mailboat Records) ** This is Def Lep’s first album of new material here since 2008’s Songs From The Sparkle Lounge, and destined to cause nary a ripple in the rock & roll universe. I’ve followed the band off and on over the years, starting with their first album, and the word that keeps popping up here is ‘underwhelming’.Produced and engineered by Ronan McHugh and recorded at singer Joe Elliot’s own studio in Dublin, Ireland, Def Leppard is possibly the sound of a once mighty arena act morphing into sort of a Kenny G with guitars. Signs of life like Invincible and the bouncy Man Enough in the first half offer some hope that the boys wanna rock, but neither tracks gets up a sufficient head of steam to lay any doubts to rest. The playing isn’t bad- some nice, tight soloing and cool riff drives Sea Of Love, until a listless chorus threatens to capsize the song.Far from being a Leppard hater I have most of their albums on my CD shelf at home, including the deluxe reissue of Slang (their most underrated effort) and a bootleg set of B-sides and rarities that includes the single version of Tear It Down, before the band lobotomized it for the Adrenalize album- I even remember buying their first album in 1981 because I thought the cover was cool. Like prize fighters many rock bands continue well past their shelf life, and Def Leppard is just the latest example of a group trying to hang on to the brass ring too long. I’m sure they still show the fans a good time in concert, but when the 90’s ended their recording career should have too.All of which isn’t to say that this is a terrible, despicable, vile piece of plastic and that heads should roll. Some okay tunes, like those already mentioned plus songs like All Time High will do in a pinch… but I don’t think anyone has been overcome at the prospect of a new Def Leppard album in quite some time, and this one isn’t a game changer- although the 2nd half is more enjoyable that the first. Not unlike Kiss’s last couple of albums, I don’t think Def Leppard has the steam to stop the Leps’ commercial slide into oblivion.ESSENTIALS: Broke ‘N’ Brokenhearted, Man Enough, Battle of My OwnLIVE AT MASSEY HALL Blue Rodeo (Warner) ****Recorded on February 20th 2014 at the venerated Toronto venue, this is very nearly a live greatest hits set. 27 years after the release of their debut, the band were playing strong and well, and 14 excellent performances were captured for this live disc, selected from nearly three hours of music.I say Live At Massey Hall is “very nearly” a live greatest hits because my favourite Blue rodeo song, Try, is not included… but when a band has been around as long as these guys, you can’t include everything. The crowd is clearly appreciative of what the band does have to offer- hits such as Lost Together, After The Rain and Rose Coloured Glasses. Rather than presenting this as an actual concert, however, they fade out after each track on the audience applause. On one hand, flowing seamlessly from track to track would have replicated the concert experience, and likely included more stage patter than the occasional “thank you, folks”… but presenting each song as an individual performance allows fans to pick and choose faves more easily.I confess that, when it comes to Blue Rodeo, I’m more aware of the hits than the album tracks- I do have most of the albums at home, but can’t remember the last time I brought one out and threw it on for a front to back listen, so some of these cuts are delightful re-discoveries. Disappear turns into a muscular musical workout, as does the more well-known Diamond Mine, so there is much to enjoy here for the casual fan and aficionado alike. Of course, the release of this album fits in nicely with Blue Rodeo’s marketing plan- they’re reissuing several albums on 180 gram vinyl like Five Days In July (which has never been on vinyl before), at Live At Massey Hall serves as a fitting primer for the band’s upcoming cross Canada tour in the first couple of months of 2016.Live At Massey Hall sees the band doing justice to their impressive catalogue and, as this disc represents only about half of the material recorded, here’s to hoping for a Volume II someday. At home or in the car, this one is a pretty good listen- fine performances from the whole band, and Greg Keelor & Jim Cuddy are singing well. If they’d sewn the songs together and included some stage banter from the show for the full concert effect, I might’ve given this a five.ESSENTIAL: Tara’s Blues, Disappear, After The Rain, Diamond MineMATCHES Al Lukas (Last Tango) **** +Here is a wonderful new album from the Calgary-based singer/ songwriter. Full of sublime performances from both Al and his band, this is a disc of songs that just make you feel real good.It’s been 4 years since the roots musician’s breakthrough album, 2011’s In My Soul, as Lukas logged no less than ten tours behind that record. He’s a wonderful and smooth guitarist, I could listen to him play all day- and sometimes have. He has a world weary singing voice, but it’s not sad or defeated- kinda sounds like Van Morrison meets Tom Waits meets Richie Havens, with a little Steve Earle thrown in- a voice that carries with it an unspoken lifetime of experience.The album was recorded quickly, as the best records often are. Once he’d set up with his bandmates, drummer Kent MacRae and bassist Chris Byrne, they just got down to business. “We recorded live off the floor, two or three takes per song” says Lukas. “We had all the bed tracks down in two days, and I added to them in between tours over the next few weeks.” Production, engineering and mixing by Studio D owner Steve Dierkens (lots of TV and film credits) is flawless, he really knows how to put us right in the room with the band.The recording process was quite democratic, apparently. “Steve would act as the producer while we were playing, and then we’d all go back and give it a listen and make some decisions” Al recalls. “I wanted everybody to have a hand on the steering wheel, even though they’re my songs. I feel that when you get professionals into a project, you don’t tell them what to do; you want to see what they can bring to the table. It all felt really organic and everyone had a nice, positive attitude towards the songs.”The songs on Matches come from real life, as Al’s stuff usually does. The song Lost With You comes from time spent helping a friend through a rough patch. Of the title track Lukas notes that he was talking to the super at the building he lived in at the time. “I told him we needed doors that lock and he replied that people would still find a way to get in” Al says. “I said ‘we can’t hand them the matches to light the fire’, and that resonated with me.”Matches is a superb collection of laid back songs that won’t let you down- I love this album.ESSENTIALS: Matches, Simple & True, Don’t Let Your World DownWE BLEED METAL Chastain (Leviathan) ***12th album, I believe, for this European power metal outfit. It also heralds the return of original vocalist Leather Leone. She sings in the power metal style- unusual for a female singer but aggressive, captivating and arresting. Also returning to the fold is original bassist Mike Skimmerhorn. I have no doubt at all that they do indeed bleed metal.Guitarist David Chastain says “This new album is a continuation of the sound we created on Surrender To Know One”, in reference to their comeback album from 2013. “We still have a foot in the past but are embracing the future. I tried to write about subjects that are important to me; the financial system’s inevitable downfall, religious insanity, mankind’s self-destructive nature, (that sort of thing).”The music, as you would expect, is brutal and crushing- sort of sounds to me like an updating Of Judas Priest circa Painkiller, and Leone’s vocal style is very much a take-no-prisoners vibe. “I find much of (this new album) to be classic Chastain” she says. “There are undeniably some modern concepts involved, but I guarantee it will not disappoint- this is 100% Chastain!”The title cut is aimed squarely at the fans, about the comradery between metal lovers and overcoming the struggle, barriers and stigma society places on the music. In many ways, We Bleed Metal is the epitome of metal itself. As the title song says “we will sacrifice and we will pay the price/ cause we bleed metal”- need anything else be said?ESSENTIALS: Search Time For You, We Bleed Metal, I Am A WarriorAGGRESSOR Ektomorf (AFM) ****I’m not usually receptive to this kind of grinding, nasty heavy metal with growly vocals- but dammit, there’s something about Ektomorf’s forthcoming album (due out Nov.20th) that is just speaking to me.These Hungarian neo-thrash masters are one of the most consistent forces in heavy music today, and Aggressor is surely living up to its title as one of their heaviest and most energetic to date. Tue Masden is once again producing, and Cannibal Corpse vocalist George ‘Corpsegrinder’ Fisher puts in a guest appearance. Ektomorf vocalist/ guitarist Zoli Farkas says “We are friends with the Cannibal Corpse guys since a long time. Last year in November I spoke to George about doing a song together. The recent Budapest show of Cannibal Corpse then was the perfect opportunity to meet and record his parts. So I took small home recording studio gear with me and recorded vocals with George in the dressing room before the show. It was fun, and it turned out killer!” That track, by the way, is Evil By Nature.Simply put, Ektomorf’s sound is fat and powerful, but there is some groove in here too- no doubt thanks to Farkas’ gypsy blood. The music combines that wild spirit with groovy, down-tuned guitar riffs, aggressive drum work and raw, screaming vocals. That’s certainly an acquired taste, and frankly I was surprised as hell to find myself digging on this album as much as I do. The band’s lyrics reflect the racism felt by the gipsy community in such a way that the message is more universal.Ultimately Aggressor is not for the faint of heart, and perhaps my recent brush with death has afforded me new ears with which to hear this kind of extreme metal. If you’re into stuff like Slayer and Cannibal Corpse, you really should check these guys out.ESSENTIALS: Eastside, Evil By Nature, IRELOADED: 20 #1 HITS Blake Shelton (Warner) *****I’m not the biggest country fan in the world, but some of it I do like, and that tends towards the traditional. Blake Shelton is one of those artists with a foot in the past and a foot in the future, fitting in comfortably with today’s modern country stars and with guys like George and Merle at the same time. After having watched him on The Voice for a few years now, he strikes me as the kind of guy you could have a beer with too- that kind of broad appeal is rare.“Man, I remember saying if I could just get a song on the radio that would be incredible” says Shelton. “Now to be releasing an album of #1 songs is still pretty damn incredible and man I’m just thankful to the fans every day.” His record run of #1’s started with Hillbilly Bone featuring Trace Adkins and continues through songs like the sultry Sangria, which captures an artist not afraid to explore new sonic and lyrical territory within the country framework- it’s more than just whiskey, pickup trucks and mobile homes for this guy. He’s pushing some boundaries and helping to redefine what country is in the 21st century, even as he recalls what made him fall in love with this kind of music in the first place- it’s a balance that very few seem able to find.Reloaded includes a handful of duets (none with his ex-wife Miranda Lambert) plus his latest top 5 track Gonna. He’s released 9 albums leading up to this compilation, from his 2001 self-titled debut to 2014’s Bringing Back The Sunshine, and to pull twenty #1’s from that is pretty incredible. I’d call this modern traditional country and, through watching him on TV too, Shelton strikes me as being as genuine a person as you would care to meet in the show business.A greatest hits set is not a bad way to introduce yourself to an artist, and that’s certainly the case with Blake Shelton. If you don’t want to pick and choose from those 9 albums that came before, then start with Reloaded and see where that leads you.ESSENTIAL: Sangria, Over, Who Are You When I’m Not LookingWHISKEY FINGERS Voodoo Circle (AFM) *** This is the 4th time out for these classic rockers, led by Alex Beyrodt. Their sound is decidedly 70’s and 80’s classic guitar rock- in fact, with Alex’s singing voice, this sounds like a long lost Whitesnake album.The title is a reference to the fact that, when guitar players come up through the club system- that experience makes it sound like they have “whiskey on their fingers”, according to Billy Idol guitarist Steve Stevens, recalling a discussion he once had with Eddie Van Halen. On this album, songs like Medicine Man are dense and crunchy, with vocals sounding like early to mid-80’s David Coverdale. The overall sound has one foot in the blues and the other in arena rock, and with the ballads you can practically smell the hairspray- hard to believe the band has only been around since 2008.Whiskey Fingers sounds like an album you may have heard before- like, say, Whitesnake ’87– and there’s some comfort in that but, flip side of the same coin, it doesn’t exactly help the record stand out. I love the energy of the performances- great rhythm section and when Alex Beyrodt is spewing out walls of riffs he’s really leaning into it. There’s some great Hammond B3 work on songs like Devil Takes Me that summon up joyous visions of Deep Purple back in the Mark II days when they were a genuinely dangerous band- probably my favourite part of the album.At the end of the day, Whiskey Fingers is a slab of classic guitar-based rock that sounds better the louder you play it. Don’t ask this one any hard questions- just throw it on and let it show you a good time.ESSENTIALS: Medicine Man, Devil Takes Me, Straight Shooter


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