April 2020 saw me having my reviewing skills tested to the max by an album which blew me away on first play. That album was Last Light On The Highway by Robert Jon And The Wreck. I like a bit of Southern rock but this also had elements of country music to it so was a bit of a challenge but a very rewarding one.
So fast forward to 2021 as they release their fourth studio album on Friday September 3rd, the self produced Shine A Light On Me Brother. It takes no prisoners from the off as they blast in with the recently released single of the same name with a Faces like main riff. Steady verses precede feel good choruses that shift the song into gear as do bombastic stabs of brass and fretboard burning solos to make for a high energy opener, point proven by lead vocalist Robert Jon Burrison hollering “Goddamn” as it crashes to a close.
The raw and raucous rabble rouser ‘Everyday’ also has touches of melody to keep it in check, the vocals entice as each second line has full on gospel like backing to soothe the ears and a finger picking good solo precedes a joyously jammed outro.
‘Ain’t No Love Song’ has a beautiful message of hope in the heart tugging lyrics which we can all relate to but the spotlight is stolen by a whip cracking snare drum delivery bringing to mind the intro to ‘Pretty Woman’.
‘Chicago’, normally known as the windy city is reduced here to a serene breeze for this sultry song. It’s a ballad to gently blow the clouds away as Robert excels here with a luscious lead vocal. The horn section adds sparse stabs especially from some boisterous saxophone.
‘Hurricane’ is a bona fide tearjerker. Emotions run high for 5 minutes of trying to hold onto a relationship featuring a lyric of “She puts down her purse as she takes a seat at the bar. She doesn’t take a phone call as she doesn’t care where you are”.
‘Desert Sun’ is another quaint ballad that’s toughened up by strong dynamics, scorching lead guitar and pleading lyrics of “Runaway with those blood stained hands, I don’t care to see your face anymore. I’m high and dry just like you leave me next day, so say hello to your desert sun for me”.
‘Movin’ has a growling, dirt under the fingernails main riff to rev up this barroom boogie that manages to squeeze in a languid jam midway until it blasts back into life for a message of hope outro.
‘Anna Maria’ was the most diificult track to get a hold of but repeated plays unlocked this paen as Jon wears his heart on sleeve for a slice of folk rock peppered with curious grooves.
The power in the lyrics of ‘Brother’ blew me away on first listen and I think it’s the most intense song they’ve penned so far. It’s absolutely astonishing!
They leave us on a high with final number ‘Radio’. It’s a hairy, lairy hoedown to lift your spirits to the heavens as it roars along on a foot tapping dance hall bluster to enduce a mile wide smile as the band lock in tight for some drive it like you stole it rock and roll rebellion.
Pre-order album links, band info and tour dates are here :- http://robertjonandthewreck.com I https://www.instagram.com/robertjonandthewreck/ I https://twitter.com/rjandthewreck I https://www.facebook.com/robertjonandthewreck I https://www.youtube.com/robertjonandthewreck I https://ffm.to/rjtwshine. I https://amazon.co.uk/Shine-A-Light-On-Me-Brother-Robert-Jon/dp/B0987R14D6/?tag=plane09-21
Robert Jon And The Wreck band line up :-
Robert Jon Burrison – Lead Vocals/Guitar.
Andrew Espantman – Drums/Backing Vocals.
Steve Maggiora – Keyboards/Backing Vocals.
Henry James – Lead Guitar/Backing Vocals.
Warren Murrel – Bass Guitar/Backing Vocals.
Shine A Light On Me Brother Album Track Listing :-
Shine A Light On Me Brother.
Ain’t No Love Song.