Album review: TONY HARNELL & THE WILDFLOWERS

Tony Harnell & The Wildflowers

[Release date 30.04.13]

One of the greatest things about music is when it can transport you to a different world. Much like reading a great book, an album can remind you of days gone by, memories that bring a smile (or sometimes a tear,) or simply just take you away from all of your troubles for the length of that album.

Honestly, there are very few albums that can take me totally away from the realities of a harsh world. Mostly I’ll listen to a band and it will remind me of those days as a careless youth, and old friends long since gone from your life. Tony Harnell, along with his band The Widlflowers Featuring Bumblefoot, has managed to create the perfect album to send you away for a while with a smile on your face.

The self titled debut album featuring former TNT singer Harnell as well as current Guns ‘N’ Roses axeman Ron Bumblefoot Thal is likely not at all what a fan of either gentlemen’s past work would expect.

A barebones acoustic album lays out the souls of every performer on it. The sterling and precise vocals Harnell’s fans (self included) have come to love and respect is just as powerful and beautiful as ever. Not only does it seem like he has lost nothing at all, he’s actually getting better through the years.

The harmony vocals with his wife Amy are spectacular. Reminiscent of the haunting harmonies of The Eagles, their voices meld together perfectly. Top that with such clean and inspiring guitar work, one moment bluesy, one moment “folky,” one moment funky, yet altogether stunning, as well as nice sweet violin accompaniment.

There’s no way to mask a lack of ability while playing acoustic music, so hearing the music created here shines each members talents well beyond one’s comprehension. Then there are the songs.

The dark opener “Paralyzed” sets the tempo. Each track stands alone as a powerful, emotionally charged, passionate extension of the band like “Burning Daylight,” “What If,” “Devil of A Healer,” and “Runaround.”

The stand out track for me, hands down, is the incredible cover of the Queen classic “Somebody To Love.” Much like the original, the song takes you to church for sure. Never doubting Tony’s abilities one instant, but hearing him tackle not only one of the best, most iconic singers to ever walk the planet, but to knock out what most consider to be Mercury’s signature song and nail it so perfectly just makes my appreciation of Harnell’s that much deeper.

Simply put, this is an incredible album for fans of Tony’s, fans of Thal’s, and fans of great music (acoustic or otherwise.) The fact that talent of this level is overlooked by the average consumer makes me sad to even be on the fringe of the music business.

When Bieber sells millions of records and few people know who Tony Harnell & the Wildflowers are is a crying shame. I have yet to hear an album or performance from Harnell in my long years as a fan that hasn’t moved or inspired me.  He is one of the only artists that I feel totally comfortable with spending my money on an album without hearing a single note of music, because he always delivers. If you have ever had a love of his music you must own this album.

*****

Chris Martin


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Power Plays w/c 13 October 2014

ZOE SCHWARZ COMMOTION Angel Of Mercy (33 Records)
BILLY IDOL Eyes Wide Shut (BFI Records)
LAWLESS Twisted And Burned (Escape Music)
LORDI She’s A Demon (AFM Records)
ATKINS MAY PROJECT Reckless Child (Gonzo Multimedia)
LIV KRISTINE Two And A Heart (Napalm)

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14:00-16:00 CHRIS WHILE & JULIE MATTHEWS Who We Are (Fat Cat Records)


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