1 December 2015

Vintage Trouble - 1 Hopeful Rd

I have only heard good things about his band. Musically I have been wanting to hear some new R&B for years so it is great to hear of a band coming to the public's attention.  They've landed plum gigs opening for the Who, the Dave Matthews Band, Bon Jovi, the Rolling Stones, Lenny Kravitz, and Queen's Brian May, and they're even signed with legendary rock 'n' roll manager Doc McGhee (who's helped guide the careers of KISS, Bon Jovi, Mötley Crüe, Guns N' Roses, Skid Row, and Hootie & The Blowfish).  The look and sound is tight, smart, a retro affair with dapper suits and slick style. The moves are reminiscent of old blues rock and roll legends, the music catchy,  well put together with just enough of a raw edge to make it palatable to the rock and roll/blues fan base.  And for the beginning what a package we have here - the name, the look, the reputation for good honest hardworking musicians making a fantastic go of it and enjoying themselves.  Vintage Trouble are handsome, stylish, and accomplished. Thousands of their fans- 'Troublemakers'-can't be wrong - neither can the millions who have attended the huge acts these guys have supported. They have the love out there, they're having fun, so now it is time to see how 1 Hopeful Road sounds....
“Run like a River” starts with a sliding guitar and then jumps into a blues rock song that will get the energy moving in any room it is play in.  A song about freedom and the pursuit of it is full of energy and momentum that it is hard not to be swept up in its wake.  It is a classic rock anthem that is already get radio play and going down a storm at their shows, as an opening track it is bouncing and showcases the energy that can be found with this band.  “From My Arms” is a slow ballad number, but in the classic R&B way showcasing a different side of this band.  It is seeking comfort from a lover, seeking reassurance that their love is really and not just a fleeting thing.  It is easy on the ears and is played very well, it is a sudden shift from “Run like a River” and I would have expected a song in between the two style; but it does not detract from the beauty of the song.  “Doin’ What You Were Doin’” continues in the manner of “From My Arms” which tells people that they can be legends in their own lifetimes and should continue on their chosen course.  I like this song an awful lot, it is not the most explosive of numbers by a long shot but it is one of the most memorable.  In years gone by this would have been one that I would have expected to be released as a single, it has the special spark where you want to repeat it over & over.  “Angel City, California” is a love song to a city called Angel City, it brings the rock element of the band back to the forefront and it knows how to strut its stuff.  It is a simple rock song that will be one that will once again be going down a storm in their live set, it is certainly one of the shining gems on this record as we finish the first third of the record.

“Shows What You Know” is next and our hearts are about to be broken once again.  A relationship in tatters and the after effects of such an event are on show here as blame and that one person is still hoping for redemption and reconciliation.  Slow and moody, powerful and fragile, this song is a great number and the solo is beautiful here as well.  “My Heart Won’t Fall Again” takes it from a different angle, this time it is from someone who is not taking another lie from a lover; it is a song which can be used for either gender as these are lessons which people of both sexes will sadly have experienced.  It is a decent song which is played very well, but something is not clicking on this number and I cannot put my finger on it.  But sometimes that can happen with any band.  “Another Man’s Word” is seeking clemency from someone who is no longer believing what you are saying.  It is a strong number that has heart break woven into each words and note that comes out of the speakers.  You never know who is telling the truth on this one, you are hearing one side of a story but if you take it on face value it is a strong statement requesting redemption.  It is a beautifully wrote song and singer Ty Taylor gives a heart wrenching performance on this song.   With fast clapping and drumming, “Strike Your Light” is a dancing song if ever I heard one.  It has that rhythm and blues shake going on and it brings energy and light to this album that was needed after all that emotional heartache (as beautiful as it is played, heavy going in places).  It might be a bit throwaway, but it is still a good song.

“Before The Tear Drops” is a walking song, it has that pace to the number and it has blues coming out of every section of the song.  It is another song about a relationship falling to pieces and seeking a second chance.  The lyrics are great as is the music itself, but it does not quite gel in my head as much as it should do.  Once again, it is nothing that the band is doing wrong but I cannot bring myself to love this song.  “If You Loved Me” is a song which is demanding to know if you loved the person and whilst it has a sadness, there is also a feeling of aggression to the music as well.  It is beautiful and very old school once again.  It certainly grabs your attention and makes you take notices, whilst it also seems to be trying so hard as well to make an impression.  Maybe a lighter touch was required on this one, but again it is just my opinion.  “Another Baby” is the penultimate song of the album and whilst it starts off with a blues explosion, it is a defiant song about loving one person and going on the quest to find another lover.  It is full of energy, a great riff and a fantastic chorus; another example of how good this band can be at times.  Ending the album is “Soul Serenity” and it sounds as if a lot of Otis Redding has been brought into this number and that fine by me.  It is gentle as a stream and as strong as a river washing over the audience.  It might sound soft, but it has a powerful message behind it and it makes you pay attention to every last note ending this album on a high note.

I am won over here, it is a stunner of a record that have some brilliant old school R&B.  There are a couple of number which are not a great as other songs on the record, but there is more than enough talent, charm and passion on here to more than make up for that.  It can be played at any time of year and still make every night and day a party and a time for lovers as well.  It is both classic and new at the same time which is a hard act to pull off; no matter which way you look at it you are hearing an album which will only get better with each passing year.

8 out of ten – Oh, now you have my attention and maybe my money, time and heart

Top track – Another Man’s Word

You can purchase 1 Hopeful Rd on Amazon here

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