Today I’m offering up some short reviews of some great new releases.
‘Tramp,’ Tracy G Group (Sonic Night Music/MVDaudio,☆☆☆)
This October release comes from former Dio guitarist Tracy G (Grijalva), who co-writes the songs with vocalist Michael Beatty. The rhythm section is bassist Randy Oviedo and different drummers, depending on the song (Adrian Aquilar/track three, Ray Luzier/tracks four, five, six and 11). Patrick Johansson appears on the rest.
Beatty’s vocals are irritating at times, but he rarely growls all the way through a song. “The California Country Jamboree Funkfest” is an interesting instrumental, “Me Myself and The Rain” is a mellower one. “Sea of Pain” is my favorite of the harder-hitting ones. Fans of what passes for heavy metal/hard rock now may like others, because of the great production.
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‘Perfect Defect,’ Perfect Defect (Sonic Night Music/MVDaudio,☆☆☆)
This October release comes from a group comprised of vocalist Gary Brown, guitarist Mitch Bernstein, bassist Dirk Van Tilborg and (surprise!) drummer Patrick Johansson. Brown refrains from growling, Bernstein isn’t as showy on guitar and the rhythm section is just as tight.
The mid-tempo “Used To Believe,” the tempo-shifting “Bad Girls” and the higher-octane “Tease Me” are the best songs; but no tunes here or above release can compete with the best of older hard rock.
‘An Hour Before Daylight,’ Rob Williams (Evertone Records,☆☆☆☆)
This October release is Americana-folk-roots-rock singer/songwriter Rob Williams’ third album, and he’s assisted by producer/keyboardist Jonathan Corey, electric guitarist/backing singer Leslie Williams and other tasteful players.
Favorites: the beautifully understated “Broken,” the myth-related “Icarus Dreamt,” the Statue of Liberty-themed “Tired and Poor” and a cover of Lucinda Williams’ “Blue.”
These songs are well-written and played. Americana fans will enjoy this collection.
‘A Love So Beautiful,’ Roy Orbison with The Royal Philharmonic Orchestra (Monument/Roy’s Boys/Legacy,☆☆☆☆☆)
This November release combines Roy Orbison’s unique voice and songs with a symphony orchestra on recordings produced by Nick Patrick and Don Reedman, abetted on a few songs by Roy’s sons Roy Jr., Wesley and Alex playing guitars and drums plus his son, 10-month-old Roy III on a couple tunes.
Great songs with great string arrangements makes it hard to name a few favorites, but “In Dreams,” “Running Scared,” “It’s Over,” the first version of “I Drove All Night,” “Oh Pretty Woman” and “Pretty Paper” are currently residing in the top spots. Readers may prefer others, and as time passes, I will find new things to like about more tunes.
Roy Orbison fans and admirers of rock n’ roll with orchestral additions will dig this album.
Ricky Flake, a former punk rocker and current music fan, lives in Biloxi. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.