Posts Tagged ‘warner hodges’

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.

Advertisements

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.

1493040478245

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/

stacie_400x1400srI’ve been listening exclusively to Stacie Collins of late, and her new album ‘Roll The Dice’. Man, is she good, and to coin an often overused term, is the ‘real deal’. Anyone who has the great Dan Baird and Warner Hodges in her corner has to be top shelf, as they don’t pin their hard earned reputations onto just anyone. If Stacie Collins has their seal of approval – you know she’s gotta be good. Good enough in fact for Dan Baird to have produced her past three albums. Always difficult to define an artist’s sound, yet some of the descriptors used to outline the Stacie Collins sound are pretty spot in. “Little Walter meets Joan Jett and Tammy Wynette”. This harmonica blowin’ hell-cat is blazing a trail travelled by few women.” She mixes Stones-fried rock-n-roll, raunchy blues & vintage honky-tonk. Although she is based in Nashville, she has an established market in Scandinavia and Europe and in Japan, there is even a “Stacie Collins” tribute band. Leather clad, eyeliner, and wailing away on harmonica – she’s a long way removed from the Grand Ole Opry of the 50’s – although country purists might enjoy her self-titled album from 16 years ago which is more trad. country than her recent recordings.

Some history. When she was a little girl, Stacie Collins lived above the bar where her mother worked as a waitress. While other kids were playing with dolls and trains, her main source of entertainment was the magical, glowing jukebox that reeled and rocked downstairs until way past her bedtime. In one of Collins’ earliest memories, she’s dancing on the bar’s pool table, collecting quarters from bleary-eyed customers and then stuffing them, spellbound, into the neon-encased Rock-ola. It’s no surprise then that, years later, Stacie would end up onstage, performing original songs that draw their life-blood from those honky-tonk jukebox classics. Born in Muskogee, OK and raised in Bakersfield, CA, her childhood and teenage years reverberated with the honky-tonk sounds of Merle Haggard and Buck Owens. A move to nearby Hollywood in her late teens put Stacie in touch with LA’s burgeoning rock scene. Obsessed with both the twang of West Coast country and the balls-out energy of rock-n-roll, she picked up a blues harp and right away started attracting attention. Being a female harp player still makes her something of a rarity, especially in her adopted hometown of Nashville, Tennessee. “My Dad played harmonica”, Stacie recalls, “and even though I didn’t know him very well because my parents divorced when I was 5, I felt like that gave me license. I had inherited a gift. After learning to play, I fell in love with the Chicago Blues sound and players like Little Walter and James Cotton. I had found my muse.” Upon arriving in Nashville in 2001, Stacie quickly proved that she wasn’t your typical Music Row twangstress the moment she stepped back from the mic and unleashed her high-spirited energy on a mean little blues harp. Full of attitude and flair, blowing harmonica is her calling card but it’s Collins’ soulful voice and gritty songwriting that creates such a broad ranging appeal.

2007’s ‘The Lucky Spot’ is the first of her albums which shows a real muscled up rock/country sound, with Baird’s influence clearly evident throughout. Man I love Dan Baird. What a shame he doesn’t tour Australia as often as he does Europe, where let’s face it, the market is established and the balance sheet offers greater profits. I get that. Check out the ballsy opener ‘Its Aint’ Love’ for a song straight outta the Dan Baird book of hits, a guy who certainly made the runka-runka sound his own (although he will tell you the sound goes back to NRBQ). Collin’s 2010 effort ‘Sometimes Ya Gotta’ is better again, and top to bottom is chock full of memorable, hook laden roots country rockers. If it’d been released twenty years ago it would sound as natural on 70s FM radio alongside ZZ-Top & The Rolling Stones as it would next to retro-rockers the Black Crowes or Jason & the Scorchers. Great tunes. Again produced by Dan Baird. Classic Rock said it best with “Guaranteed to get any party started… Imagine a late-night lock-in jam with Aerosmith, The Stones and ZZ Top, fronted by the equivalent of Ronnie Van Zant, or maybe even Shania Twain with balls…. It’s sassy, sexy & rocks like a bitch”. The album opener ‘Hey Mister’ is rip snorter, and ‘I Won’t Do Ya Like That’ sounds like it should have been on the Satellites’ Open All Night’ album’. ‘The tender ‘It Hurts To Breathe’ is a good example of the strength and quality of song writing diversity on display. A song for the broken hearted, yet as good as anything you’ll hear on FM country tear jerker radio anywhere. Did I mention that this girl is good? Which brings me to her latest (and fifth) album, ‘ Roll The Dice; released late last year. This has been getting rave reviews and justly so, although Classic Rock got it wrong big time with their review of 6 out of 10, and comments such as “the lack of distinctive traits in her music lets it down.” Which means that the limey reviewer knows bugger all, and if he did, he would know that she categorically has a blues/rock/country sound all her own, distinct due to her own vocal sound (no one sounds like her), harmonica laced blues/country played by HER (a woman, that’s not distinct?), and all songs are catchy, infectious and memorable. There’s harmonica drenched rockers (‘Lost and Found’, and the brooding ‘King Of Rock’), to  the super melodic and radio friendly ‘Gonna Fly’. How about ‘Jani’, the catchy sing-along tribute ballad to the deceased Warrant front man which is, incidentally, my favourite song on the new album. ‘It’s Over’ has a huge chorus which you will be singing over and over. This song is a monster. Talking about sing-along chorus’ , how about ‘Heart On My Sleeve’. Another example of the quality of the song writing. 6 out of 10 Classic Rock ? Please. This album is solid from top to bottom and gets 10 out of 10 from Cowboy Col. She is an original. As I said, forget his lame review and go onto YouTube and check out some of her videos yourself. Be your own reviewer. I think this is her best and most consistent album so far, its heavier than the others and is well worth your hard earned.  Am I biased? I mean Dan Baird is, along with Neil Young, one of my all-time faves, but after 5 albums and 15 odd years, this girl stands well and truly on her own two feet with a distinctive sound (up yours Classic Rock) that is well and truly all her own. Go to staciecollins.com and dig in. You won’t be disappointed. Get your ass down to Australia Stacie!