Album Reviews
Band: Steven Tyler

Title: We're All Somebody From Somewhere

Label: 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!! 

The 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. Now there are sad songs that hit the mark here, but 'Gypsy Girl' is as doleful as they come! The stripped down vibe that surrounds the song is what actually makes the song so powerful in it's own right, a sort of 'less is more' attitude being used to great effect, as it is on the painfully fragile (in a good way tho'!) 'What Am I doin' Right', where, yes, yes, it's a tambourine!!!! 

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! Back to the 'meat and potato' country side of original tracks now, and 'Somebody New' benefits from a shuffling drumbeat that jostles things along like a Mother does to her kids when she realises that Aldi closes in 5 minutes and she's forgotten to get something out for tea, whilst the lush acoustic and slide guitared intro to 'Only Heaven' sets you up for one of the best (country) songs you'll hear this year. You can actually hear the enjoyment in Tylers voice as he's singing, he's so at one with it. 

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.  

'Sweet 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

 

Tracklisting:

1. My Own Worst Enemy 
2.We're All Somebody From Somewhere 
3. Hold On (Won't Let Go) 
4. It Ain't Easy 
5. Love Is Your Name 
6. I Make My Own Sunshine 
7. Gypsy Girl 
8. Somebody New 
9. Only Heaven 
10. The Good, The Bad, The Ugly & Me 
11. Red, White & You
12. Sweet Louisianna
13. What Am I Doin' Right?
14. Jamie's Got A Gun
15. Piece Of My Heart 

BACK TO MENU

 All content copyright of The Mayfair Mall zine unless otherwise stated and may not be reproduced with prior written permission.