Free As A Bird

Mike sent this Classic Rock Magazine compilation. It’s fun!

Lynyrd Skynyrd starts a blues rocker named Last Of A Dyin’ Breed with a sweet slide intro. It’s almost country, too. This song seems to cover all the bases. Shooter Jennings offers up Southern Family Anthem, which has a Rockin’ In The Free World feel to it, even though it’s not really a rip-off. Just came to mind. It’s a solid rocker with a funny chorus line, “We may be trash but we’re a family…”

Gary Clark Jr., whom many are hoping is going to save the blues (does it need saving?) gives us Don’t Owe You A Thang, which I have on his EP. It’s a fast-paced blues rock tune. I liked it then, and I like it now. Saskatoon’s the Sheepdogs are next, with The Way It Is. I was turned off of these guys when I read their write-up in Rolling Stone magazine, how they ran down their hometown. Anyway, this song isn’t going to win me back over. It’s OK, but I could hear Black Keys doing it better.

Buffalo Killers give us Blood On Your Hands, a slow stomper that’s fine for what it is, but didn’t do much for me in this mix. I’d imagine it would be way better in a live setting. Then, I’d probably love it. Reverend Peyton’s Big Damn Band is next, with Devils Look Like Angels. It’s a neat idea for a song if you don’t want to exceed about a minute and a half. After that, it gets pretty damn repetitive.

Ana Egge does Bad Blood next, which sounds like it’s going to build into something, I kept waiting for it and, well, it never really did. There’s no big crashing reveal to this tune, it’s all just that pent-up energy hinting at release. Not bad, but oddly frustrating. Andre Williams and the Sadies offer up I Gotta Get Shorty Out Of Jail, which is basically a showcase for the dude’s deep, growly voice (and silly rhymes) over a noodly little tune with incongruous female backing vocals that seem to amount to “bum bum bum bum oooo.” OK then!

Fifth On The Floor does Distant Memory Lane, which starts out with a beautiful acoustic part with strong vocals over it. Is it going to be a country tune? There’s a twang there. Another long slow build here, with the final realization and take-off taking place well past the three minute mark. Way more satisfying than the Ana Egge tune, in this way. Blitzen Trapper sucks all of the energy out of the previous tune with Taking It Easy Too Long, a quieter country-tinged tune a la Wilco. I dunno, not a grabber. Maybe I need to hear it a few more times.

Blackberry Smoke does Ain’t Much Left Of Me, which brings back the bluesy rock. I wonder how much these guys listen to the Black Crowes, ‘cos I could hear this as a song of theirs. Even the name (I said hey, Blackberry!). Sadly, without something closer to Chris’ voice, this falls a bit flat as homage. Royal Southern Brotherhood are next with Left My Heart In Memphis, which is a pretty good soul vocal over top of an understated groove that the band take jabs at now and again. Interesting. Lydia Loveless does More Like Them, which is pretty basic barroom rock, but this lady can sing. All I could listen to here was her.

Gravelroad is next with Keep On Movin’, which is one of the best tracks here. It’s bluesy, spacey and it howls. I really liked the shuffle of this song, the menace in its sound. Well done. And lastly is Lera Lynn, with a song called You & Me Alone. It’s an OK tune, it builds to a bit of a crasher but (once again) it’s the lady’s vocals that capture all of the attention, for me.

Reading this back, I may have sounded a bit negative on some of this. I didn’t really mean to, there isn’t a bad song here. Just some of them were better than others, and since I’m in my armchair and can take my shots from relative safety, I can only report my gut instinct. I’m glad I got to hear this. For a music magazine comp, it’s remarkable cohesive and a decent enough overview of a whole bunch of music I would never have otherwise heard.

Thanks, Mike!

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