Working Man

Here’s another IOU Series installment, folks!

The illustrious Mike Lebrain reviewed this tribute to the mighty Rush, a while back. I said I was all over it, as I do love me some Rush and I was curious, after his enthusiastic review, to check it out… I ordered it, it was here and waiting… and it sat. Why, oh why? Gah. Anyway, now I’m finally hearing the damn thing.

Let’s go!

You know, I started out writing quite a lot about every track here, full of enthusiasm, with things like “holy hell, that was amazing!” and such, mentioning guitar solos and the bass sound and the excellent drumming and it really all was quite a lot of repetition and blathering…. Seriously, folks, I can cut this down to a few clear words:

This album fucking smokes!

Here’s a few good reasons why: on most tracks, Jake E. Lee plays guitar, Billy Sheehan plays bass, and Mike Portnoy plays drums. Throw in George Lynch, Stuart Hamm, John Petrucci, Richard Chyki, and a whole whack of others (see them all, listed below) and you’ll get a sense of the level of musicianship we’re hearing here.

And the tracks? Let’s be brief:

Johann Sebastian Bach’s Working Man is frickin’ perfect. It rolls seamlessly into James LaBrie (Dream Theater)’s By-Tor And The Snow Dog, which absolutely wails. Jack Russell (Great White)’s Analog Kid goes full-tilt boogie and it’s mightily impressive all-around.

Mike Baker (Shadow Gallery)’s The Trees is another monster of a version. Steve Morse (Dixie Dregs, Deep Purple, etc)’s La Villa Strangiato is a helluva stellar workout.

Now, Eric Martin (Mr. Big)’s Mission nails the track, though the vocals don’t quite make it… Mark Slaughter (Slaughter) nails a Geddy impression and wails through Anthem. Johann Sebastian Bach absolutely owns Jacob’s Ladder.

Fates Warning’s Closer To The Heart is simply perfect. Devin Townsend gives us a unique Natural Science, complete with the sound of running water in the intro… and then the track takes off and he’s shredding his vocals and… whoa…

James Murphy (Death, Testament, Obituary) does YYZ and the playing is fantastic. James LaBrie is back, this time with Red Barchetta and it’s a total winner. The vocals are spot-on, too. And finally, Gregoor van der Loo gives us Freewill, which whips along and pounds us into happy submission.

In Sum:

The playing here is stellar. The vocals are (almost completely) well done. The song selection is great. But what really comes across is how much all of these people love Rush, and just how damn happy they are to be recreating the band’s amazing songs.

My only regret is that I didn’t hear this sooner, especially since I could have (I had it right here, damn it)!

Two thumbs way the hell up.


The Tracks, and The Players (from Wiki, ‘cos I’m too lazy to type it all out):

1. “Working Man” (Geddy Lee/Alex Lifeson) – 3:52

  • Sebastian Bach / lead vocals
  • Jake E. Lee / lead guitar
  • Mike Portnoy / drums
  • Billy Sheehan / bass
  • Brendt Allman / rhythm guitar

2. “By-Tor And The Snow Dog” (Lee/Lifeson/Neil Peart) – 4.12

  • James LaBrie / lead vocals
  • Jake E. Lee / lead guitar
  • Mike Portnoy / drums
  • Billy Sheehan / bass
  • Brendt Allman / rhythm guitar

3. “Analog Kid” (Lee/Lifeson/Peart) – 5:18

  • Jack Russell / lead vocals
  • Michael Romeo / lead guitar
  • Mike Pinnella / keyboards
  • Mike Portnoy / drums
  • Billy Sheehan / bass
  • Brendt Allman / rhythm guitar

4. “The Trees” (Lee/Lifeson/Peart) – 4:32

  • Mike Baker / lead vocals
  • Brendt Allman / lead and rhythm guitar
  • Mike Portnoy / drums
  • Billy Sheehan / bass
  • Chris Ingles / piano
  • Gary Wehrkamp / keyboards

5. “La Villa Strangiato” (Lee/Lifeson/Peart) – 9:26

  • Steve Morse / classical guitar and main solo
  • Mike Portnoy / drums
  • Billy Sheehan / bass
  • Brendt Allman / rhythm guitar
  • David Townson / rhythm guitar
  • James Murphy / ending guitar solo and keyboards

6. “Mission” (Lee/Lifeson/Peart) – 5:34

  • Eric Martin / lead vocals
  • Brad Kaiser / drums
  • Robert Berry / lead guitar, bass, rhythm guitar, keyboards, background vocals

7. “Anthem” (Lee/Lifeson/Peart) – 4:14

  • Mark Slaughter / lead vocals
  • George Lynch / lead guitar
  • Deen Castronovo / drums
  • James Murphy / rhythm guitar
  • Stuart Hamm / bass

8. “Jacob’s Ladder” (Lee/Lifeson/Peart) – 7:38

  • Sebastian Bach / lead vocals
  • John Petrucci / lead guitar
  • Matt Guillory / keyboards
  • Mike Portnoy / drums
  • Billy Sheehan / bass
  • Brendt Allman / rhythm guitar

9. “Closer To The Heart” (Lee/Lifeson/Peart/Peter Talbot) – 3:00 (Performed by Fates Warning)

  • Ray Alder / lead vocals
  • Jim Matheos / lead guitar
  • Mark Zonder / drums
  • Joey Vera / bass

10. “Natural Science” (Lee/Lifeson/Peart) – 8:39

  • Devin Townsend / lead vocals
  • James Murphy / lead and rhythm guitar
  • Matt Guillory /keyboards
  • Deen Castronovo / drums
  • Stuart Hamm / bass
  • David Townson / second lead guitar

11. “YYZ” (Lee/Peart) – 4:20

  • James Murphy / lead and rhythm guitar
  • Matt Guillory /keyboards
  • Deen Castronovo / drums
  • Stuart Hamm / bass

12. “Red Barchetta” (Lee/Lifeson/Peart) – 6:13

  • James LaBrie / lead vocals
  • Steve Morse / lead guitar
  • Richard Chycki / rhythm guitar
  • David Townson / rhythm guitar
  • Sean Malone / bass
  • Sean Reinert / drums
  • James Murphy / rhythm guitar, keyboards

13. “Freewill” (Lee/Lifeson/Peart) – 5:29

  • Gregoor van der Loo / lead vocals
  • Marcel Coenen / lead guitar
  • Trent Gardner / keyboards
  • Jeff Brockman / drums
  • Carl Cadden-James / bass

Posted on January 11, 2017, in posts by aaron and tagged . Bookmark the permalink. 12 Comments.

  1. I normally don’t bother with these tribute things at all but, between you and Mike, you’re making this one seem pretty intriguing.


  2. Great musicians covering songs from an iconic band, what’s not to like? If I’m picky, I could say they should have covered “Tom Sawyer” and “Farewell to Kings.”


  3. smokes? that’s an even more favourable review than cooks!
    And I agree, that LeBrain fellow is awfully illustrious!


    • You’d like this one, Geoff. Perfect with the good headphones on!

      Mike is indeed illustrious, but you’ve also gotta watch out for him. He’s always influencing us to spend our money on records he writes about…

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Only know a few Rush tracks outside Moving Pictures, but this does sound like a mighty fine project.


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