This week Self Made Man extols the virtues of RUSHONROCK approved Rival Sons. He came late to the party but now he’s having the time of his life!
HE’D been going on about them for weeks. “Have a listen,” he pleaded. “You’ll love them.”
And my mate was spot-on. It really was love at first listen.
US rockers Rival Sons and I got on like a house on fire. Indeed, the embers are still burning brightly having been the enthusiastic owner of their excellent album Pressure And Time for over two months now, a period in which I’ve rarely gone more than three days without listening to it either in the car, at the gym or at home.
It combines those two essential ingredients any artist strives for when writing music.
You want the songs to have immediacy so that they capture the listener’s attention from the outset. Yet this must be balanced by a slow-burning quality ensuring the music continues to enchant and reveal hidden secrets after numerous listens.
Pressure And Time ticks both boxes. It’s riff-laden and melodic yet boasts sufficient depth to prevent it from gathering dust after a fortnight’s heavy listening.
Of course, my mate knew he was on to a good thing when he recommended Rival Sons to me. He has my ear down to a T, as it were and has a commendable history in highlighting bands he know I will like. If it’s classic rock, Murt will like it, seems to be the mantra and it works.
Which is more than can be said for my own music consultancy which boasts a far less impressive success rate. All of us get to hear new music and new bands from a variety of sources – radio, TV music channels, the internet, clubs and gigs.
Classic Rock magazine, with its free CDs and occasional DVDs serves a purpose too. The Answer, Airbourne and Wolfmother are just three bands I first heard courtesy of that excellent publication.
Many of us, including myself, will read reviews in newspapers and the music press and follow up a hardy recommendation. And then there’s Amazon which informs potential purchasers “if you like this music, then you will like this too” and it’s usually right.
But as a teenager, words of mouth was the most effective medium. Mates would bring records into school, insisting you borrowed a certain LP. Indeed, my love affair with UFO began only after listening to a borrowed copy of Strangers In The Night, having been unaware of any of their music bar Doctor Doctor before indulging myself in that particular fest.
And how could I forget my AC/DC induction? Had Steve G not begged a teacher to record Rock Goes to College from Essex University on the school’s brand new video recorder and then instructed all his mates to come in to the lecture hall one rainy lunchtime to witness them, I might never have got into them.
Three decades on and it is me preaching the gospel with mixed results. As I write this, the Rival Sons album is currently on loan at a friend’s along with Saint Jude’s Diary Of A Soul Friend and I am glad to report he loves them both.
But not all my recommendations have been so well received. Five years ago, I lent this particular friend The Answer’s debut album but unfortunately the verdict of this 40-something was “bloody hell, that’s a bit too loud for me these days.” And this from a guy who once had Ted Nugent’s Wango Tango screaming from his bedroom speakers!
The Parlor Mob, Wolfmother and even Muse got an emphatic thumbs down and yet having been introduced to Joe Bonamassa by yours truly, he’s probably an even bigger fan of the man than me.
There’s another mate who lost touch with the music of his teenage years as a young parent but is now keen to rekindle that adolescent enthusiasm. Sadly, he is finding it no easy task. Having been an avid fan of bands such as Deep Purple, Rush, UFO and The Scorpions he is distinctly underwhelmed by their later stuff – and by later, I mean anything they have released in the last 20 years.
These days, the young lad who once boasted the most decorated denim jacket in the North East, finds himself preferring indie bands such as Kings Of Leon and Kasabian to the new tunes of his former heroes.
Still, I do have my successes when it comes to musical influence. This weekend, son number two is heading down to Leeds University to start a four year course reading Italian and World Cinema. And how has he prepared for this momentous step in his young life? By spending hours in his room, inputting dozens and dozens of my CDs on to his computer. A well brought up kid indeed.