Posts Tagged ‘dan baird’

right-back-where-i-started-cd-frontIn an age when rock ‘n’ roll ain’t at the top of the heap no more – its only right and just that you get down on your knees and give thanks that artists of the calibre of Warner E. Hodges are still out their making bona fide rock ‘n’ roll – and truly great, original rock ‘n’ roll at that.

You can also forget the mandatory descriptors that readers look for in a review that help determine whether they purchase or not – all you need to know is that this is one MONSTER of a rock album – and one of THE releases of 2017 – or any damn year in fact.

The good folks at Mayfair Grand Music (MGM) forwarded this new Warner E. Hodges album to me a couple months back.  I’ve had a whole lot of life stuff get in the way – resulting in a way overdue review.  Yet unlike other albums, which I may have reviewed after only a couple of spins – ‘Right Back Where I Started’ has been on unending rotation with me these past few weeks – I know these ten tunes backwards – so without any further hindrance – let me say right off the bat that this is pretty much THE consummate rock/guitar album – and without a doubt the most rock solid, indeed accomplished solo album Hodges has released.

As early as April, I shrewdly selected Dan Baird & Homemade Sin’s ‘Rollercoaster’ and Baird’s solo album ‘So-Lo’ as the albums of the year. A big call with only a quarter of the year done, but I was proven right.  ‘Right Back Where I Started’ sits comfortably alongside those couple and easily makes my top 5 for 2017.

There are ten tunes on ‘Right Back Where I Started’ and no sign of filler. Top to bottom – this is one solid outing. Thematically – the title tune sees Hodges looking back at his life in rock ‘n’ roll – and how he’s come full circle. It’s a foot to the floor, raucous rocker that swaggers and rocks a plenty. Rippin’ solo too. ‘Where Did You Go’ follows a similar theme – with Hodges asking where did rock rock ‘n’ roll go ? Purists like us also ask the same question – yet with cats like Hodges, Joe Blanton and Dan Baird around – I’m here to tell you that there’s life in the old girl yet.

With its sing-along chorus, ‘Ghost On The Road’ grooves along nicely. This is a great song highlighted by some distinctive drum fills, likeable solos, layered vocals and even some subtle organ. If you turned on the radio you’d be forgiven for thinking this was Skynyrd. Top shelf.

The blue denim shuffle of ‘Waiting On Me’ rocks and rollicks – highlighted by a searing Hodges solo and a vocal that sees Hodges pushing himself and singing his heart out.

The hard rockin’ ‘Sick Of Myself’ hits you in the gut like a great rock song should. Bitchin, dog eared tune that reminds me a lot of Mick Taylor era Stones and, if I’m pressed, my personal fave off the album.

There’s a multiplicity to the songs on this album that reflect the sheer quality of song writing on display. ‘I’m Never Alone’ is a great example of this – and a great example to all of what a melodic pop song should be. Mid-tempo highlighted by a memorable and unique riff, plaintive and strong vocal delivery on the verses and then into a super catchy chorus, a lot of instrumentation and layered with harmony vocals. Super production too. Man, this has ‘hit’ written all over it. Radio programmers are you listening?

Talking of hits, check out Hodge’s country duet with Elizabeth Cook on ‘Worst Time For Love’. You may know her from her tune of a few years back, ‘El Camino’. Again, super strong chorus with Cook’s vocal contrasting neatly with Hodges, and further evidence of rich song writing diversity.

The album closes with the Faces/Stones/Quo groove of ‘Dirt’, another winner. Penned by Otis Gibbs (who also has a great podcast by the way) this rocker (complete with rock n roll piano) is a great album closer – and rounds out proceedings nicely. Last orders please!

Although this is a Hodges solo album – the other two main songwriters/contributors to the project are Dan Baird and Joe Blanton. All three bring different parts to the table – yet all contribute songs, their talent as musicians, producers and in Blanton’s case – engineering skills. (How is that solo album progressing Joe?) All three are rock n roll with a capital R and with ‘Right Back Where I Started’ have created a ‘classic’ rock record that will sound great in 5, 10, 50 years.

Cheap Trick’s Tom Peterson adds his individual bass sound to the album with Brad Pemberton (Steve Earle’s band) hitting hard on the drums. Great drummer (as anyone who as seen him perform live will attest).

I must also make mention of the amazing cover art, an outstanding photo (by Trudi Knight) which captures Hodges at one with his Les Paul. Great moment captured on film and as an album cover, it makes a defining statement.

If you want to hip a musically unsophisticated younger person to what real rock n roll is – or you are an older rock fan that needs a rock n roll rejuvenation – give ‘em the gift of Warner E. Hodges rock n roll. Ten out of ten.

Right Back Where I Started is out now. For more information go to Warnerhodges.com or Jcplmusic.com

 

 

 

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bootleggers-front-hms-tape-bottom-2There’s a ton of live albums out there, yet when the best rock ‘n’ roll band in the world releases a new live record, it’s time to pay attention. This live album is a little bit special, and without going into the whole story, here’s the reason why. This live album is pulled from Dan Baird & Homemade Sin’s show at Bootleggers Bar, Kendal, a town in Cumbria, England (for the benefit of those who have never set foot in ol’ Blighty). Homemade Sin (HMS) were in the midst of a UK/Euro Tour when Dan Baird got sick. Bad sick. So much so, that within 24 hours of this gig on 26 July 2017, Dan was in hospital being treated for chronic lymphocytic leukaemia (CLL).

For anyone who has ever seen Dan Baird & Homemade Sin live, you know that they are the real deal. Ain’t no better live band anywhere. They deliver the goods EVERY show. In fact, you could release any of their gigs as a live CD  – and it would come up trumps – so if you put on hold for a second the reason for the release of this CD – this gig in Auld Grey Town is as good as any. It’s a double CD with nice packaging, liner notes and live photos. CD 1 has 17 tracks, the first 12 of which comprise the first set. There are many highlights. Opening with the one-two punch of ‘Younger Face’ and ‘Little Darlin’, there’s no respite as HMS launch into ‘Knocked Out Cold’, ‘Licka Sense’ and ‘Shake It Till It’s Sore’, three killer tunes pulled from my 2017 album of the year, ‘Rollercoaster’. (Read my review for that album here). Warner Hodges’ wailing guitar on ‘Knocked Out Cold’ is pretty damn palatable.

With exhaustion setting in, ‘Thousand Little Pieces’ gives Dan Baird the opportunity to catch his breath. Dan was no doubt feeling the effects of CMM, but you wouldn’t know it from this performance. He gives no excuses, no quarter given – just sings his heart out – and gives 100% as he always has.  Faced with the same situation, I’ve known other musicians who would have either cancelled, cut the set short, or provided an excuse. Not DB, one of a kind – and speaks volumes about the man’s convictions. Total respect. The band know how much Dan was struggling, so they all pick up their performances and give a little extra, with Warner Hodges in particular shouldering a lot more of the vocals. Dan hits the A chord and insists the crowd sing-along and help him out with ‘Keep Your Hands To Yourself’. They dutifully oblige. There’s a tribute by Warner Hodges to Jonty Martindale, a pillar of the Kendal live music scene and owner of Bootleggers who passed away suddenly in April this year.  ‘Movin Right Along’, another couldabeen/shouldabeen hit from the ‘Get Loud’ album rocks aplenty, before the band take it up a gear to finish the set on a high with two bonafide Dan Baird classics, ‘Julie and Lucky’ and ‘I Love You Period’.

If you are new to the world of Dan Baird & Homemade Sin, ‘The Red Wristband Special’ CD is as good an introduction to the man and his music as any album in his back catalogue.  Long-time DB fans however, will appreciate the five bonus tracks on CD 1. ‘Way Too Soon’ an outtake from the aforementioned ‘Rollercoaster’ album is a great tune with a smokin’ riff. Co-penned by Brad Pemberton. As well as being a monster drummer (currently with Steve Earle), he is no slouch in the song writing department either. ‘You Been On My Mind’, a previously unreleased Dan Baird demo also gets the thumbs up. Melodic, catchy, singalong chorus and memorable lyrics.  Also included is  ‘I’m Never Alone’, a brand new tune from Warner Hodges which will be included on his soon to be released solo album. Man this good. Cross Petty with Cheap Trick and you are on the money. Can’t wait for the album!

Whilst Dan Baird is in respite and being treated for CLL, Homemade Sin are touring throughout the US and Europe with the great Joe Blanton out front and filling in for Dan. Blanton plays in a Nashville band called The Bluefields (also with Baird, Hodges and the aforementioned Pemberton) and is one of my favourite frontmen/songwriters. Some of the material he penned with the Bluefields (for example ‘Trainwreck’ and ‘If Not Now When’) are unknown classics that should be scoring airplay the world over. This cat has a penchant for melody, and the inclusion of one of his previously unreleased tunes, ‘That Was Now This Is Then’ hits another bullseye. Total Chuck Berry/Stones/Quo/Fogerty. Smoking tune. How about a solo album Joe ?  CD 1 is rounded out by ‘Falling’, a plaintive Mauro Magellan tune off his ‘4 Corners of Sweet Hell’ CD with much appeal.

CD  2 consists of the second set of the night, and opens with another classic from Rollercoaster, ‘The Other Side’, before the audience are treated to a couple of Satellites classics, ‘I Dunno’ (with Warner singing his absolute heart out) and ‘Six Years Gone’. I’ve written elsewhere about the greatness of ‘Crooked Smile’ a tune off the first Homemade Sin album. Live, it is a guaranteed crowd pleaser, and rightly so. This song is huge, and evokes images  of Neil Young jamming with Crazy Horse in the early 70s – and then some. The song belongs to Hodges – and is quite possibly the best 10 minutes of rock n roll that you are ever likely to see. In this brief period he finesses, shreds, bends, motors, taps and still finds time to throw his Les Paul over his shoulder, as he has been doing since the early Scorchers days. If you want to know why Hodges is so good – go watch this on YouTube.  The rapturous response from the crowd at Bootleggers tells me what I already knew – they got to see something just that little bit special. Why don’t more people know this song ? Go listen. It’s beyond superlatives. The ultimate tribute/commentary to Carny folk, ‘Fairground People’ gets another green tick, and then, the audience are treated to ‘Hell And Back’, a bitchin’ hard rocker from Warner Hodges’ 2014 solo album, ‘Gunslinger’.

‘Thin Disguise’, one of my all-time favourite Baird songs, and another of the couldabeen/shouldabeen hits from ‘Get Loud’ (see above) sounds hot, before a punishing version of ‘Railroad Steel’ ends proceedings. What a killer set. The between song banter is also left in, and I’m glad about that, as it makes the listener feel that they were there. ‘The Red Wrist Band Special’ is a live statement from the best band in the world.  Its warts and all. Its dog eared, its imperfect – but it hits you in the heart and soul like no other rock n roll can. There’s a realness, a legitimacy, and notably, a humility to Dan Baird & Homemade Sin that today’s artists clearly lack. You could have an army of Ed Sheerans and I’ll take one Dan Baird any day of the week. The CD scores 10 out of 10.

Having grown up in the halcyon period of Oz hard rock – when bands like AC/DC, Rose Tattoo, The Angels, (Angel City), Divinyls, Cold Chisel etc  reigned supreme, I will probably never be swayed from my opinion that Australia produced the best live rock n roll bands in the world. After all these years, I can honestly say, hand on heart,  that guys like Dan Baird, Warner Hodges and Homemade Sin are also in that illustrious group. For they are quite simply – the best of the best.

The Red Wrist Band Special CD is available now from JCPL Music.

Click here to read a review of Dan Baird And Homemade Sin live in Australia from 22 April, 2017.

Click here to listen to an interview Cowboy Col conducted with Dan Baird at Newcastle, Australia on The Australian Rock Show.

With an absolute plethora of internet radio stations out there, one could say that the choice of stations open to the listener are infinite. Plenty of options yes, but more often than not the options presented are not offering anything new in terms of playlists. How does one differentiate the cream from the crap? Listen to TuneIn Radio or any number of similar sites – throw a dart and you will more often than not land on a “station” that is airing classic rock / AOR that is akin to AM radio. That’s fine every now and then, but sometimes I want to hear new bands, and guitar rock I haven’t heard before – or, deep cuts from classic artists. How about something from Ronnie Lane I haven’t heard in a long while,  a new Chuck Berry cut I haven’t heard, or something off the new Alice Cooper album? How about some new Americana/ classic rock / Alt county from Whiskey Myers or Tom Petty or Steve Earle? Borstal Boys from The Faces maybe? If the answer to this is yes, like me, you need to be tuning in to “From The Underworld”, (named after The Herd tune) one of the best radio shows out there, which is aired every Saturday night on Phoenix FM from out of Brentwood, Essex in the UK.  (By the way, the aforementioned tunes were just a few of the songs aired on the last couple of episodes). From The Underworld is kind of like the radio equivalent of Classic Rock Magazine for your ears – except better. I used to use that magazine as a source to discover new bands, now I rely on DJ Brian Ager to hip me to the latest sounds. Living in Australia, how else would I have discovered the great new album by Magpie Salute (ex-Black Crowes) or Fireroad, one of the UK’s best bands? Brian has his finger on the pulse and knows what’s cool – and so should you. You don’t have to listen live, as each show is available for free streaming/download, which means you can listen anytime. I get to work on a Monday morning, and diligently listen to Brian’s current show –and so should you. It’s the best out there. And while you are there, check out some of the other cool shows on Phoenix FM – there’s plenty to dive into. Recommended. Check out the current From The Underworld show here.

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7379552.jpegUp on the stage, it’s as hot as Hades. Homemade Sin are working hard – and sweating buckets. ‘Can we turn on the Night Ranger?’ asks Dan Baird, referring to the big fan in the corner that if turned on will give the band the big hair look of Jack Blades & co. “I’ll end up with Bon Jovi hair”, chuckles Warner Hodges. The band are in a good mood and the crowd are into it. The temperature is cooled, but its gonna take more than an exhaust fan to cool rock ‘n’ roll this hot. Welcome to the world of Dan Baird rock ‘n’ roll.

Having lived in the Balmain area in the late 1980s, I’d seen some good gigs in a number of pubs in this area- but tonight’s show trumps ‘em all. From the Gladesville Tavern to the now derelict eye-sore that is Balmain Leagues and of course, the Bridge Hotel, which over a period of years now has become of bit of a torch bearer for real rock ‘n’ roll. Arriving at the venue in time to catch Sydney up and comers, Release The Hounds, there are a hard-core of fans in tow to eat up their brand of blue collared/no frills rock n roll.  Reference points are AC/DC & Rose Tattoo, and with a set of catchy, original hard rocking tunes, these guys are on the rise and one band to look out for.

1493042895231By the time Dan Baird & Homemade Sin hit the stage at 9.45 pm, the room has filled with a moderate but enthusiastic crowd keen to witness a couple of hours of unapologetic rock ‘n’ roll.  Let’s also call it real rock n roll for unreal times. I’m at the bar charging my glass when Dan launches into the first chords of ‘Licka Sense’. I make my way to the front of the stage and position myself bang smack in front of the great Warner E Hodges. I never get tired of watching this cat play guitar, he is just so good, a showman and entertainer to boot. Speaking of boots – I notice he is wearing his distinct green cowboy boots and spurs. Like I’ve said on previous occasions, Hodges is cooler than Fonzie.

Dan Baird & Homemade Sin have been working with a set list for a month and a half- yet tonight, no set list. Dan is selecting the songs as he goes. It’s gonna be a fun night! There is an enthusiastic crowd response and the band feed off it. These guys consistently deliver the goods show after show – and set a high benchmark for themselves to deliver the best show they can. Tonight is no exception. Go search for any of their performances on youtube – you won’t find any dud performances their friends. Top shelf. Always.

From a 110 minute set there’s many highpoints – with a mix of new songs and old given an airing. Aside from ‘Licka Sense’, there are a bunch of tunes performed from the new album, ‘Rollercoaster’, and all sound hot. There’s ‘Love Gone Wong’, a rollicking ‘Shake It Til Its Sore’, the big hitting swagger of ‘Knocked Out Cold’, and the Zeppelinesque/Bad Company cross that is ‘Can You Hear Me Now’. Hodges is let loose on this one and is a joy to behold – and hear. What a tune. Shredding with feel – like no one else on the planet.

1493040499496.jpegThere is an absolute ball busting take of the epic ‘Crooked Smile’, from 2008’s debut ‘Homemade Sin’ album. This song is an out-and-out monster and reminds me of Neil Young jamming with Crazy Horse in the early 70s.  The song belongs to Warner Hodges – and is quite possibly the best 10 minutes of rock n roll that you are ever likely to see. In this brief period he finesses, shreds, bends, motors, taps and still finds time to throw his Les Paul over his shoulder! If you want to know why Hodges is so good – go watch this on youtube.  The rapturous response from the crowd tells me what I already knew – they got to see something just that little bit special. Why don’t more people know this song ? Go listen. It’s beyond superlatives.

‘Two For Tuesday’ is another highlight – oozing Fogertyisms and complete with a few bars of ‘Proud Mary’ thrown in for legitimacy. This tune has hit single all over it and like many things Baird has penned, is a melodic sing along, catchy and memorable.

1493042899515.jpegKeeping in mind that the band are without a set list, Hodges shows genuine delight when Dan launches into the first chords of ‘On My Way’, a deep cut off the superb Buffalo Nickel album. A technical issue sees him fixing his guitar rig mid song, yet the band never drop a note. An AC/DC devotee, Hodges tells the audience how Angus Young turned up at a Scorchers gig during their 1988 Australian tour and presented Warner with a wireless unit – which could have come in handy tonight!  The band then launch into ‘Julie & Lucky’ and ‘I Love You Period’, both from 1992’s ‘Love Songs’ LP, the latter charting in Australia. Not to be outdone by Hodges, drummer Mauro Magellan performs running repairs on his hi-hat mid song – without missing a beat! The guys a pro – a monster drummer, and quite the artist too.

‘Movin’ Right Along’, another should have been classic from the ‘Get Loud’ album sounds 1493040504449.jpeggreat to my ears and gets the girls up and grooving. As does ‘Keep Your Hands To Yourself’, a song no doubt many punters came to hear, and who instead left hearing a truckload of other lesser known Baird classics as well. ‘Hands’ climbed all the way to Number Two on the Billboard Hot 100, and was denied the top spot by Bon Jovi’s ‘Living On A Prayer’. Turn that  Night Ranger fan up to full!

The Satellites material sounds timeless – testament to the song writing. Its great to hear ‘Mon Cherie’ and ‘Hard Luck Boy’, both rippin’ tunes with Micke Nilsson thumping hard on bass and laying down the groove. He’s a bad-ass bass player, who continues to hold his own amongst his more illustrious and seasoned band mates.

Dan dedicates ‘Sheila’, to an old bandmate, Ginny Whittaker whom he played with in The Rabbits back in 1980. Only a couple days before, in an interview with The Australian Rock Show, Dan talked about aging and death, and how every day you open Facebook to hear of a notable passing. The moment is not lost on me.

The ultimate tribute/commentary to Carny folk, ‘Fairground People’ scores two thumbs up, before a punishing version of ‘Railroad Steel’ ends proceedings. What a killer set. For those that were there, this was 110 minutes of the best rock n roll you are ever likely to see. For those that weren’t, be sure to see the band on tour soon. The best rock n roll band in the world – without a shadow of a doubt – Dan Baird & Homemade Sin.

Listen to an interview with Dan Baird on The Australian Rock Show from April 2017 here

Read Cowboy Col’s review of ‘Rollercoaster’, the 2017 album of the year.

Read why Cowboy Col considers Dan Baird & Homemade Sin to be the best band in the world.

all images (c) Colin Gray/Cowboy Col.

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rollercoasterWell, I’m gonna go out on a limb here – but I’m confident. We are only a quarter into the year – and already, the albums of the year have arrived. Makes little difference what comes out in the next 8 months, I’m here to tell you that nothing released this year will surpass the two new albums from Georgia’s finest – the great Dan Baird. For Dan Baird fans – Christmas has indeed come early. He has released not one – but TWO new albums, and both are exceptional.

Baird has released many albums since the Satellites demise, commencing with his first album in 1992, ‘Love Songs For The Hearing Impaired’. ‘Buffalo Nickel’ was good, (LOVE ‘Cumberland River’), as was ‘Out Of Mothballs’, and the material he released with Yayhoos is also exceptional, yet the albums he has released with Homemade Sin have taken him to a whole new level. Baird has collaborated with some fantastic guitar players throughout his career, including Eric Ambel and Rick Richards of course – who formed a formidable musical partnership with Baird and created a legacy that stands on its own merits. Over the last few years though, Baird’s right hand man has been Warner Hodges – and Hodges has been one of the key ingredients to Baird’s continued resurgence up the rock ladder. Hodges is rock solid – and has amazing tone and finesse – yet is also a great singer and song writer in his own rite (check out his couple of recent solo albums for further evidence of this). Hodges has added that ‘certain something’ to Baird’s sound, and from a slew of great albums, the last two Homemade Sin albums have both surpassed each other as Baird’s best. I didn’t think he could better 2013’s ‘Circus Life’, or ‘2015’s Get Loud, but I’m here to tell you – ‘Rollercoaster’ trumps ‘em both.

Rollercoaster is consistently strong – top to bottom. Right from the opening track ‘Shake It Till Its Sore’, pretty much the Homemade Sin creed of making great rock ‘n’ roll for people to dance to – you know you are in for a helluva ride. Dig the lyrics, “Smack the drums, hit the big A chord, pedal to the metal gonna shake it till its sore”. What is evident to me is that on both ‘Rollercoaster’ and ‘SoLow’ Baird opens up his memory bank and lyrically, there are many tunes penned about his formative years and his youth growing up in Georgia. Songs such as ‘Licka Sense’, about taking his Dad’s Harley and how his Dad was not an enthusiastic supporter of young Dan’s chosen career path in rock ‘n’ roll. The imagery he creates in ‘Roll On Chattahoochee’ is another  – “Big river is where I’m from” he sings, with lyrics recalling past days of about running through the Georgia Pine, his first El Camino, swimming holes and the summer sun.  There’s been others who have written about the Big River, including Alan Jackson and I think Drivin ‘N’ Cryin also wrote about it, yet none are as lyrically evocative as this. Midnight ramble indeed. This is how John Fogerty used to write ‘em. There’s lotsa great rockers included too – ‘Let It Shine’, ‘It’s Alright’, and Hodge’s soloing on ‘Can You Hear Me Now’ oozes Rossington/Collins. There’s 13 tunes on ‘Rollercoaster’ and as I said at the outset – no filler in sight.  If I’m pressed though, ‘Lay It Down’ is the album’s personal pick for me. I love those lyrics. “I’m just a second hand novel with the last page missing, “I got Aces and 8’s that’s a dead man’s hand.” It’s a like a theme song to an old Henry Fonda western, and as anyone knows, Cowboy Col is a sucker for a good Western. Bring on the visuals! Great tune, rippin and rockin’ chorus.  I have to make special mention of the heart wrenching “Do My Worst”, a truly beautiful song layered with much emotive feel and playing. If you think Baird can only write ‘runka runka 3 chord’ shtick – you are wrong wrong wrong. He is capable of writing truly evocative songs/ballads, that can send shivers down your spine. As song writer and lyricist, he is way underrated – not by those in the know though. ‘Rollercoaster’ scores a big 10 out of 10 from Cowboy Col.

DB.SoLow-CD-cover‘SoLow’ is a solo album proper – sans Homemade Sin.  Much of the material on ‘SoLow’ is co-written with Joe Blanton, who also plays with Baird and Hodges in the highly recommended Nashville outfit – The Bluefields, one of Music City’s finest. Blanton used to be in a terrific band called Royal Court Of China. Add them to your homework list and go search them out too while you’re at it. David Newbould, who has contributed songs to the last couple of Homemade Sin albums also co-writes some tunes on ‘SoLow’. He has a band called The Stowaways worth checking out. The songs on SoLow are a little more organic, more country, but not in an obvious way, yet there’s some subtle differences to this and a Homemade Sin record. The opener Cemetery Train is a great song, super catchy, big chorus, memorable lyrics. A Baird/Blanton classic. Blanton should be in the major leagues, he is such a great song writer and has real predilection of melody. “Look Away” is an absolute monster. There is so much swagger and soul on the playing you’d think the Allman’s were on board. Superb. Aside from ‘Cemetery Train’, ‘Showtime’ is the obvious single. Likeable and catchy, good time rock ‘n’ roll. ‘Say Goodbye’ is another instant classic that is laden with feel, a sing-along chorus, sweet harmony’s and is beyond catchy. Melodic riff and great vocal to boot. You will be singing the chorus ‘Tell Me Why’ over and over. The more laid back, ‘She’s With Me’ comes up trumps, as does ‘Lay It On Me’. The plaintive “Gotta Get A Move On” is a pleasant surprise. Acoustic, stripped back, highlighted by some nice banjo and instrumentation. Two thumbs up from Fonzie and another 10 out 10 from Cowboy Col.

Dan Baird is the real deal. Forget whoever else it is that the social media conglomerates tell you is rock ‘n’ roll. Take my word for it when I tell you that Dan Baird rock ‘n’ roll is the best there is, and with ‘SoLow’ and ‘Rollercoaster’ – he has arguably, made the two best albums of his career.

See Dan Baird and Homemade Sin on tour in Australia in APRIL/MAY. Check out http://www.danbairdandhomemadesin.net for more details and ticket information.

  • Apr 13 The Corner Hotel Richmond, Australia  
  • Apr 14 Cherry Bar Melbourne, Australia  
  • Apr 15 Baha Rye, Australia  
  • Apr 16 Boogie Fest Tallarook, Australia  
  • Apr 18 Basement Sydney, Australia  
  • Apr 19 Lizottes Bar  Lambton, Australia  
  • Apr 22 Bridge Hotel Rozelle, Australia  
  • Apr 28 Triffid Brisbane, Australia  
  • Apr 29 Parkwood Tavern Ashmore, Australia  
  • May 02 The Gov Adelaide, Australia  
  • May 05 The Charles Hotel North Perth, Australia

b225c83a-ebcd-42e5-80f8-3148f8aad0de.jpgThe answer to this question is – arguably, yes – yet I need to qualify the response. If you ask a dozen people the same question, you will no doubt end up with twelve different answers – for the word ‘best’ is of course subjective. Yet in order to be somewhat objective – lets ensure that the ‘best’ band has to be contemporary. It’s meaningless to throw out names like Oasis or Zeppelin or U2, Skynyrd, the Black Crowes or whoever. As the timeline shows – at various point in history – these and many many others had their hands on that title – but in 2017, no.  And before some blinkered KI$$ fan emails me with their fist in the air telling me that the redundant caped clowns are the best – don’t even bother. If it was 1977 – maybe so, but they are nothing more than a cash register on wheels who offer zero in terms of new material. And in recent years their ‘new’ material is neither vital, engaging nor relevant. Retarded rock ‘n’ roll. I digress.

Revivalism is popular in the music bizz nowadays – but to again reiterate- be the band old or new, are they releasing quality NEW material? People tell me that Ed Sheeran is the best artist in the world – but I don’t see it. Not sure he has the songs/originality to justify all the hype that has been bestowed upon him. He is hugely successful, multiplatinum in an era where people don’t go multiplatinum no more – yet that has more to do with mass modern social media pushing his wagon than anything else. Noel Gallagher he ain’t. As a singer songwriter – will he go down in history as a modern day James Taylor ?  The best ? Time will tell.

Yet in my humble opinion, if you define the ‘best band’  in the authentic Chuck Berry/blue denim /beat up Telecaster /ramalama tradition – then Dan Baird is all that and more. There is a legitimacy to anyone who rides the same road (which started with the blues), as greats like Steve Marriott, The Yardbirds, The Stones/Faces etc. Yet Baird ain’t plying revivalism rock ‘n’ roll. He continues to release creative new material that is both memorable, original and relevant – a nod to the past and a tip of the hat to the present. And that right there- is why he is the best. Not many artists have that capacity. Springsteen does, Neil Young does – so too Mike Ness.

Baird has always been cool – and I have always dug his lyrics. His lyrics have a twist that reflect his sense of humour and down to earth, unpretentious  southern heritage. Anyone who can write about Carnys (Fairground People), can use the word ‘parenthesis’ in a song (I Love You Period), write about 8 track stereos, Firebirds, and use lickety split in a song (Red Light) is a true wordsmith as far as I’m concerned.  Baird is having fun – and that comes across in the delivery of the songs – both musically and lyrically. Yet he aint no one trick pony. If you think he just churns out carbon-copied runka runka  styled tunes modelled on ‘Keep Your Hands To Yourself’ – you are clearly mistaken.  He is capable of writing extraordinarily memorable songs that are heart wrenching – that can make the hair on the back of your neck stand up – Check out ‘Thousand Little Pieces’ from the Circus Life album as evidence of this. Be in no doubt though, that the other reason Baird rock n roll is in the upper echelons is due to his band – Homemade Sin.  The calibre of personnel in this band is top shelf. Baird’s right hand man is Warner Hodges – the guitar players guitar player. Since Hodges came on board some years back, the Dan Baird band has become more muscled up, an even tighter unit – and a band that musically – consistently fires on all cylinders. Hodges is rock solid – who himself has a rich body of work to dive into if you aint already familiar with him. This includes his stuff with Jason & The Scorchers, or any of his rippin’ solo albums, ‘Centerline’ ‘Gunslinger’ or ‘Preachin’ The Gospel’.  The engine room is made of long serving (and ex Satellites) drummer Mauro Magellan and bass player Micke Nilsson, formerly of Swedish rockers Bonafide. This rhythm section are the core of the sound, and often don’t get the accolades they deserve, yet they should. They are the pulsating, never erring backbone that allow Baird and Hodges the room to move.

In many ways – In 2017 Homemade Sin are the modern equivalent of an early 70’s Mach 1 Mustang or Chevy Camaro – they ooze character when all others around them are made of plastic, and all look the same. A shit load of horse power, solid steel, sharp lines – and true style.

I have been a Dan Baird fan for what, 30 years now. I picked up obscure Satellites and solo records in different parts of the globe on different travels. There were two tours of Australia, including a support of Johnny Diesel & The Injectors in 1989. Then it became a long time between drinks – with Baird finally coming back to these shores three years back as part of Bobby Keyes’ band. Small venues – but big rock n roll. Baird has been incredibly prolific over the past 20 years – and has released a slew of albums with many bands. All worthy of your attention. Throw the dart at any of these and you will hit the bullseye every time. Once the Satellites folded, he went solo, and released the first of many solo albums – with ‘Love Songs For The Hearing Impaired’. Check out the video of him performing ‘I Love you Period’ on Letterman. Cooler than Fonzie. And over the years there have been more albums, both solo and with other bands including the Yayhoos and The Bluefields amongst others. Buffalo Nickel, Out of Mothballs – so many great albums. In fact – if you want a good starting point, pick up either the ‘Circus Life’ or ‘Get Loud’ albums – top to bottom – both superb albums.

Some of my favourite all time Dan Baird songs are far from the obvious or expected. If I had to come up with an album’s worth of material for a “Dan Baird Desert Island Disc” it would include tunes such as The One I Am, I Love You Period, Lost Highway, I Want You Bad, Picture On The Wall, Thin Disguise, What Are We Waiting For (Yayhoos), Younger Face, Fall Apart On Me, All The Same, Thousand Little Pieces (what a song……) and Outlivin’. Note that have not included any tunes off the brand new spanking Homemade Sin album ‘Rollercoaster’ as its only released this week – nor off Dan’s new solo album -SoLow either.

Australia – tour dates are locked in for April and May 2017. Y’all get ready for the BEST rock n roll band in the world. Real rock n roll – for un real times. More information at http://www.danbairdandhomemadesin.net/

13882569_10205063030815125_8856265621919806028_nWhen it comes to new rock n roll, separating the cream from the crap is often the hardest part.  There are so many artists out there, all using the same media platforms to try to reach an audience. So many artists have great websites and are versed at self-promotion. Which is all well and good, yet the problem remains that the market gets absolutely flooded with mediocrity. The irony that many of these bands are also regurgitating an old sound doesn’t hold much appeal for older fans such as myself who has seen and heard it all before. Yes I know, young bands aren’t pitching at cynical, mocking old rock dogs like myself, they are aiming at their peers who may not have heard the whole D-A-G guitar chord progression shtick. Which brings me to the subject matter of this post – a gal from Nashville (via NYC) named Carly Jamison. Unlike many other young up and coming artists, Jamison has the talent and ability to craft melodic pop songs draped in originality. It’s almost an embarrassment of riches – she’s that good. There’s some trippy hippy elements to her persona and with her deep, breathy vocal delivery, she reminds me a little of Brett Smiley and Nick Gilder to a lesser extent.  Yet that comparison fails to do her music justice. Her songs are upbeat, catchy, with big chorus’ and even bigger melodies.

0003918265_10It’s hard to make musical comparisons, and I really don’t like doing it. But I also know that readers like some kind of reference point. I’ve read reviews that compared Jamison’s sounds to The Pretenders, The Stones, Elvis Presley, Joplin, Bonnie Raitt, Humble Pie, Drive By Truckers, John Fogerty, Roy Orbison, Status Quo, Slade etc. The fact that her sound can’t be pinned down only goes to show how richly diverse her songs are. All I look for are melody, hook and a catchy memorable chorus. She has all that – and an originality that is refreshingly welcome.

She first came to my attention via Dan Baird, who played guitar on Jamison’s 2010 album, ‘Everything Happens For A Reason’. Being a huge Dan Baird fan, anything that Dan lends his name to (including the great Stacie Collins) has to be good. Tracks such as ‘Look Where Its Coming From’ have elements of pure pop, classic early 70’s UK glam, handclaps and melody galore. A second album followed in 2013, called ‘Ungrounded’ and it also gets the Rockbrat thumbs up.  Since October last year, there have been three new singles releases by Jamison and all are killer slices of pure hard edged pop. ‘100 Goals’ is a classic slice of hard rockin’ pop and is beyond radio friendly. Killer tune. It features the cream of Nashville’s finest including the way underrated Chris Tench and Mike Webb (whom I saw in Sydney a couple of years back as part of Bobby Keyes’ band). In April this year she dropped another superbly crafted pop tuned called ‘Dynamo’. Pure, unadulterated pop that has me struggling to find superlatives to do it justice. Why aint they paying this on the radio everywhere? The press blurb accurately describes a combination of 80’s inspired guitar riffs, pop melodies, punk rock energy, and poetic lyrics. And then late last month, Carly released another new single called ‘Sneaking Around This Small Town’. Its again heavy on the melody, a little more reflective, but in no uncertain terms showcases the depth of quality song writing that Jamison has in spades. This cat is a way underrated song writer who knows how important melody, chorus and hook are to a song. I’ve been listening to rock n roll for a hell of a long time, since the late 70s in fact, and I’m here to tell you, Carly Jamison has the goods to take her to the top of the heap. She just needs a couple of breaks to go her way. If she keeps putting out quality new singles that surpass each other, it’s only a matter of time before one of the major labels take the bait and give her a shot to see how far she can go. I’m already hip to Carly Jamison, the best kept secret in rock n roll. Get on board! http://www.carlyjamison.com/