Review: Jack Blades “Rock N Roll Ride”
Music veteran Jack Blades’ 2012 solo effort, “Rock N Roll Ride”, is an album that feels custom-made to play when you’re cruising down the highway. It’s easy-drinking, mainstream rock, with choruses designed to make you want to sing-along. There are catchy melodies and nifty guitar hooks, but a lot of the focus is on Blades’ voice and lyrics.
Jack Blades has said of this album that it is “an extension of what my music has been for the last 30 years. It has been quite a rock n’ roll ride and I decided to lay it all down on a record! — It shows all my influences… whether it’s the Beatles, British metal, British rock, blues, Crosby Stills and Nash.”
That pretty much describes the album. “Rock N Roll Ride” is a kind of musical collage of those decades. For example, there’s a distinct Beatles’ vibe on “Anything for you”, especially in the chorus with Cheap Trick’s Robin Zander helping out on vocals; “West Hollywood” sounds a bit like Tom Petty; and the sing-along friendly “Born for this” has an almost Kid Rock-y twang to it.
Occasionally this makes the album feel a little “all over the place”, but when pulling together so many influences and styles, that’s maybe a natural hazard.
My favourites on the album are the three opening tracks: the rocking and rolling “Back in the game” and “Rock N Roll Ride”, followed by the slower “Hardest word to say” which has a real 80s power-ballad feel to it. You can almost see people waving their lighters in the air (or I guess that would be iPhones today) as it’s playing. “Say you will” is another good track, with Blades going growlier on vocals, and with Night Ranger’s Brad Gillis’ spacy, racing guitar driving through in the background.
Jack Blades has been around the music-world for a long time, as part of Night Ranger, Damn Yankees, Shaw/Blades, and others. He has written songs, produced albums, and worked with a range of artists including Alice Cooper, Cher, Ozzy Osbourne, Motley Crue, Journey and Roger Daltrey. Even if you think you haven’t heard him before, I’d bet you’ve at least heard Night Ranger’s “Sister Christian” at some point. Considering all that, it’s maybe not surprising that “Rock N Roll Ride” sounds like it’s been put together by a veteran musical craftsman who still enjoys his craft, and is happy sticking to what brought him this far.
This is not the kind of album that is likely to blow your mind, but it’s solid, well-made and has a real joyful, upbeat feel to it. If you’re a fan of real, honest-to-goodness rock to blast through the speakers while cruising down the highway, this is a good bet.
This article first appeared and is courtesy
of Maria Haskins’ Rock And Roll