Rhino [Release date 29.09.17]
Renowned guitarist Ronnie Montrose sadly passed in 2012, having left a long hard rock legacy, best known for his work with Gamma, Edgar Winter, Johnny Winter and Sammy Hagar as well as his eponymous band Montrose.
Before he died, Ronnie started work on this project, 10 songs with 10 lead vocalists, a project featuring bassist Ricky Phillips (Styx, Bad English) and drummer Eric Singer (Kiss, Alice Cooper). Phillips completed the project after Montrose died and it’s as good as it looks.
Opener Heavy Traffic, featuring Mr Big’s Eric Martin, is a track that makes the whole album worthwhile. Strong powerful clear vocals that rock sing and scream with aplomb, it’s a classic hard rock song that transcends eras, this could be 1982, 1992 or 2002.
‘Love Is An Art’ features both Edgar Winter and Rick Derringer, there’s guitar solos and rich keyboards here, and some mean and moody vocals. Bluesy hard rock at its best, and some decent saxophone too.
Even the Sammy Hagar fronted ‘Color Blind’ sounds good, Steve Lukather’s guitar standing out, and backing vocals from the likes of Jeff Scott Soto.
Montrose produces some fine guitar throughout, on some fantastic songs, it’s a moody hard rock with an edge that moves from dry to blues and back. There’s even an element of funk in the Glenn Hughes sung ‘Still Singin’ With The Band’ (a track that also features Def Leppard’s Phil Collen).
Jeff Scott Soto appears on several tracks, and guests throughout also include Davey Pattison (fantastic singer), Tommy Shaw and Joe Bonamassa. Quite an amazing line-up.
From chunky riffs to shred, bonus solos, and songs full with strong rhythms, backing vocals and occasional keyboards, it’s a hard rock album well worth searching out regardless of who’s on it. A fitting tribute indeed. ****1/2
Review by Joe Geesin
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