Veteran musician Randy Bachman has spent the better part of his adult life crafting songs that are known today as some of the rock realm’s greatest compositions. Whether as a member of Bachman Turner Overdrive, The Guess Who, or as a solo musician, Randy Bachman’s music is considered by rockers of all ages to be some of rock’s greatest even to this day. And with his latest solo effort Heavy Blues Bachman continues to justify that reputation even more. Heavy Blues will hit store shelves on Tuesday, April 14th. it is an aptly titled record considering the blues-based rock that makes up most of the album’s eleven total tracks. Perhaps the only exception to that rule is the album’s deeply emotional closer ‘We Need To Talk.’ That song aside, Heavy Blues still stands as a record that every rock purist should add to his or her own music library. From its straight forward, seemingly Steve Miller/The Who-inspired opener ‘The Edge,’ to the gospel and blues-infused ‘Oh My Lord’ to that much deeper, more moving closer, there is plenty for rock purists to appreciate in this album. That includes the pieces not noted here, either. All eleven tracks taken fully into consideration, Heavy Blues proves itself to be a record that is a full breath of fresh air and reminder of all that once made rock great and always will.
Randy Bachman’s latest full length effort Heavy Blues is, as already noted, a breath of fresh air in an age in which rock seems continually dominated by cookie cutter bands dominating mainstream rock radio stations and equally sound-alike acts dominating the heavier side of the rock realm; bands whose songs consist of indecipherable, cookie monster-like growls, machine-gun speed drumming, and crunching, down-tuned guitars. It is a reminder of all that once made rock great and always will regardless of which bands dominate the airwaves and the underground. This is exhibited right off the top in the album’s bombastic opener ‘The Edge.’ The song boasts quite the similarity to works from the likes of both The Who and The Steve Miller Band among others stylistically speaking. Whether or not that was intentional is known only by Bachman himself. Regardless, the combination of those influences in this song serve to make it the perfect choice for Heavy Blues’ opener and a great addition to the album overall. That bombastic style is an equally fitting match for the song’s lyrical side. Lyrically speaking, the song presents a figure that is looking at the world with eyes wide open and a bright spirit. He is someone that is ready to break out and explore the big, wide world with so much gusto. He sings to his mother, “Goodbye mama/I ain’t comin’ home/There’s a big world out there/I’m goin’ it alone/Leave behind the knockers/I just gotta chase the dream/I wanna be somebody and I gotta be free.” He goes on to sing in the song’s closing verse, “I might be wrong/But I’ll take that chance/Falling down and getting up/Is part of the dance/Wanderin’ in circles/Trying to find a place to be/I wanna be somebody and I gotta be free.” Whether male or female, such mindset and energy is something to which even today’s youths can relate. The song’s ability to reach across the generations with such lyrics and musical power makes it a great opener for Heavy Blues and just one of many examples of why every rock purist should have Heavy Blues in their music library.
‘The Edge’ is a great start for Randy Bachman’s new album. It is a song that stretches across generations both with its music and its equally positive and explosive lyrics. It isn’t the only positive boasted by Heavy Blues, either. The hybrid blues/gospel-infused ‘Oh My Lord’ is another great example of what makes this record such a standout opus. Fellow veteran musician Robert Randolph (Robert Randolph and the Family Band) joins Bachman on this song to make for a piece that is one of the highest of the album’s highs. While Randolph provides no vocals for the song, his added talents on the steel pedal add quite a bit of spice to the song. Lyrically, it offers just as much depth for listeners. It notes that for all the bad times in life, a person has to endure and push through, no matter what. As Bachman sings, “Young and restless, outta control/You gotta let the bad times roll/Be careful what you wish for, diamonds or gold/You gotta let the bad times roll/Life is just a gamble, you gotta take control/You gotta face the storm and let the four winds blow/When you roll the dice, it’s all about the throw/You gotta let the bad times roll.” Bachman comes across as saying that people have to take the bad with the good and just face it all rather than try to run and hide from it. Hiding from the bad times only makes things worse. Facing the bad times is tough, but it makes a person stronger for having done it. As with ‘The Edge,’ these are lyrics that cross generations. They are words that are just as relevant to today’s youths as to those that were youths when Bachman was himself younger. Once more, that combination of infectious blues and gospel-infused music coupled with equally substantive lyrics shows why Heavy Blues is such an enjoyable record for rock purists of every age and why it in whole proves to be potentially one of this year’s best new rock records.
Both ‘The Edge’ and Oh My Lord’ serve in their own way as prime examples of why every rock purist should hear Heavy Blues if not have it in his or her own music library. Both songs present wholly different sounds yet sounds that will impress rock fans of all ages. The lyrical content of each song makes each one even more enjoyable and impactful. While both songs provide a certain amount of substance to the album in whole, they certainly are not all that make Heavy Blues so impressive. The album’s closer ‘We Need To Talk’ stands out completely from the rest of the album’s compositions. Yet it shows in its own way one more way that this album shines. Given it probably should not have served as the album’s closer considering the energy exuded by the rest of the album’s songs. But stylistically and lyrically speaking, it is a powerful and moving song in its own right. The song’s musical side presents a figure going through the sadness and uncertainty that comes with an impending breakup. The gentility in Bachman’s voice coupled with the song’s reserved sound set against its 3/4 time signature makes it a song that will tug at listeners’ heart strings like no other. The song’s lyrical side will tug at listeners’ emotions just as powerfully as Bachman sings, “I braced myself for the worst/Whenever you hear those words/Something don’t fit/Something went wrong/Something don’t work and something’s all gone/That’s just the way it is, we need to talk, she said.” Just as with ‘The Edge’ and ‘Oh My Lord,’ the lyrical content presented here is content that transcends generations. Bachman paints a vivid picture of a young woman trying not to hurt a man as she tells him that their relationship has come to its end. There are thousands of songs about breakups that have been crafted by acts across music’s many genres throughout the modern history of music. But few tell the actual story of the breakup. And just as few tell the story of that moment with such clarity and emotion. Because of that, ‘We Need To Talk’ proves itself to be one more of the most important moments of Heavy Blues even as much as it stands out from the rest of the album’s songs. It isn’t heavy in the traditional sense. But its combination of moving lyrics and music make it a heavy song in its own right. And it makes it one more great examples of what makes Heavy Blues such an important addition to any rock purist’s music collection regardless of said listeners’ age. Together with the likes of ‘The Edge’ and ‘Oh My Lord,’ the combination of all three songs( and those not noted here) shows exactly why this record could potentially be one of the year’s best new rock records.
Randy Bachman has proven time and again throughout his career why he remains one of the most respected figures in the rock community decades after he first rose to fame. And as the songs noted here show, he has proven yet again exactly why he is held on one of those pedestals of rock’s greatest icons. The songs not noted here prove that just as much, not to ignore them, either. The combination of those songs with the compositions noted here show Heavy Blues as an example of how rock can be heavy without being heavy metal. It shows why this record is one that every rock purist should have in his or her music library. And it shows why it is potentially one of the best new rock records of the year. Randy Bachman will tour in support of Heavy Blues beginning April 1st in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. The tour includes a stint on the 2016 installment of the Rock Legends Cruise. His current tour schedule is available online now along with all of his latest news at:
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