Title: We're All Somebody From SomewhereLabel: Big Machine
Whoa, whoa bonny lad, what the Hell is aal the fuss aboot, like?? In all honesty, why all this 'hoo-har' surrounding Aerosmith's frontman, Steven Tyler releasing a solo album, and 'gasp, horror, it being a Country record to boot!! So fecking what! Did anyone complain so discombumpingly when the likes of Freddie Mercury, Sammy Hagar or that bloke from Boyzone come up with their own albums? (well, THAT one we all probably did!). two out of those three, no we didn't, as we embraced them as work from top class vocalists, so it really has made me pretend to attempt to pull my hair out at all the negativity that has followed Mr. Tyler recently. Has anyone of these neysayers actually listened PROPERLY to the album?? I think not, as it is a corker, slap bang up-to-date in what is hot at the moment, without it losing the Rock element that Tyler is so famous for.
The album kicks off subtly to say the least, 'My Own Worst Enemy' as low key as could be possible, in fact the gentle accordion is at the forefront, but when you listen to the lyrics, full steam ahead wouldn't be right, yet when a sudden salvo of solo rips in, it doesn't distract you too much from this slow-burner. The title track follows next, a dirty swampy blues hip-swayer that wouldn't sound too much out of place on the new Cadillac Three album (check THAT one out, folks!), then up crawls the eerie chain-ganged 'Hold On (Won't Let Go)', the distorted vocals adding to the dark vibe that engulfs the track, Hell's bell included too, but Nine Inch Nails? My arse!!
'It Ain't Easy' quaintly moseys along on an air of mandolin/violin combo, Tyler seemingly at his very relaxed, in fact, this track gives you the feeling you're receiving a slow, gentle massage from your favourite ... well ... erm ... it's so-o relaxing!! If there was ever a genre called Country Power Ballad, then 'Love Is Your Name' would slip into that bracket no problem, it's uplifting feeling infectious from the word 'Go', harmonies galore, banjo and slide guitar breezing along for the journey, both as happy as Larry, and I bet when this track was being recorded, Tyler had a smile on his face as wide as the Tyne!! Mumford and Sons cast-off?? My arse #2!!
Train-alike 'I Make My Own Sunshine' is a breezy little
bugger, dancing along on the air of 'whoo-hoos', minimalist mandolin and snappy handclaps by the sound of
it, but don't quote me on that, and though it has been
quoted as; deliberately twee', I wouldn't go as far as that
by any means, its just a genuine happy-go-lucky song.
Right, seeing as I'm on about stripped down songs here, let's get mentioning what can only be termed as 'the Elephant in the room' when it comes to a certain song that has caused uproar in some media factions, yes, that Aerosmith classic 'Janie's Got A Gun', and the fact that Tyler has had the audacity to tear it to bits AND put it on his COUNTRY ALBUM!!! Has no-one really listened hard to his lyrics over the years?? It screams out Country song if ever one of his songs did! The subject alone should give you a hint, I mean, weren't the old digs at Country songs only being about either someone's Grandma going over the edge of a mountain on their wheelchair or their 'dawg' getting run over by the 'Moonshine wagon' enough to make you think that 'yeah, I can see why Tyler has done this'? It's a sad, sad subject to sing about, and the early country stars made a living from doing such things, so why in Hell's name should Tyler get stick for this?? Listen to the Aerosmith album 'Honkin' On Bobo' and wind yer necks in, cos the seeds for this particular album were probably sown way back then! Worst of all? My arse #3!!
Whilst the subject of 'covers' is in the room,
Tyler does a canny job with the Erma Franklin classic 'Piece
Of My Heart', and even though he has great backing from The
Loving Mary Band, it still has a loose, comfy aura
surrounding it, fiddled to the hilt with some cheeky notes
thrown in for good measure, and a party atmosphere in the
studio when this was going down, I suspect!
Can I use the term
'shit-kicking' or would that be too much?? The shit-kicking
country rocker with the great title 'The Good, the Bad, The
Ugly & Me' would light up any room if it was on, as this
grooving little shuffler oozes enough foot-tapping pizzazz that even my Gran would have problems keeping still to, and
she's been dead 15 years! For me, this is the best song on
the album, closely followed by the single 'Red, White &
You, once again mandolin-led with plenty to get the blood
pumping whilst line-dancing, and yes, it does follow a
certain trend in the Country scene of 'clever rhymes and
flag-waving tropes' as such, but there's no need to be so
cutting and smart-arsed about it, as some in the Rock media
have come across. Shame on you.
Louisiana' is another easy-going, clap-alonger that comes
together on the fiddle/slide/accordion combo set-up,
bringing up visions of a dance hall get-together from years
gone by in the Southern States of America, tall hats and
swirling dresses all coming together in harmony as this type
of song fills the place, making you wish ... if only ... and my
gran's family were from Benton, illinois. Crap!!
Righto, that's that then. Don't be put off by what is said
in certain corners of the Rock media, Steven Tyler and his
merry band of collaborators have come together and delivered
a really great piece of modern Country music and handed it
out to us all to enjoy, which anyone with any sense will do
exactly that. Enjoy it!!
Review by: Robb Baldwin
Own Worst Enemy
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