Hailing from the land down under, Australian based group Billy Roberts and the Rough Riders have their own unique style and I think it’s the unusual texture of Billy’s voice that brings it all together.
A mixture of bluesy country and rock n roll, this album is unique and musically driven. Released in October of 2015 it’s riding on the edge of classic rock or southern rock.
Vocals are raw and reminiscent of Dylan with a splash of maybe Bob Segar and Bruce Springsteen. Billy Roberts shares his lead vocals and grooving guitar , while Ed Glass accompanies on drums, Alex Quinn thrill’s on bass and guitar and holding down the four piece group is Billy Anderson on piano. Instrumentation on this album is bright, crisp and engaging. I enjoyed the lead guitar and sharp blasts of brass.
Lyrically this album shares real life stories accompanied by emotions of broken love and heartache but also about determination to move forward. The song writing is superb and lends a story line that’s easy to follow. It’s almost like sitting in a cinema watching an old John Wayne classic. There’s a textured edge to the entire album that sets it apart from most others in the category.
“Forget Me” opens with the old western feel. I could actually see the Rough Riders coming in to town with a guitar strapped to a should while riding in a cool 55 Chevy with a 500 horse power engine. It lends the old west twist with a modern day ride.
Billy Roberts and the Rough Riders may very well be one of the best country rock bands in that they have the ability to cross several genres and make them all their own.
“From The Ashes” is rocking and rolling through the ages with a cool blast of guitar and lyrics sure to open your senses. The lyrics tell a solid story and are driven so that they pull you in to a fantasy and you can actual live it while listening to the song.
This album will present a wide variety of sounds. It has country, rock, country rock, classic and southern rock, with soulful blues and a splash of light jazz. Over all, this album expresses a distinctive and original talent all it’s on.
“Go By Myself” pretty much puts you right in the studio. You feel like your sitting right there mixing and mastering the calibrations yourself. Loved the slide guitar intro. Lyrically there was a lot of repeating but over all the instrumental passion on this song balanced out the vocals. Not that the vocals were all that bad, it just felt like there should have been more to story. The music pulled me in making me want more in a visual sense. The guitar rifts are solid, the drums are on target.
“Who Do You Think You Are” is hot from the start. Hard hitting and driving. This song presents much stronger and solid vocals with a solid Bruce Springsteen sound. Vocals were rich, appealing and raw. Musically, balanced yet great atmosphere. This one is a favorite.
I loved the opening of “Kayla” with the acoustic and the piano being full, rich, and engaging. Nice almost ballad type style. This one is thought provoking with conviction. Vocals are nice with a warm harmony accompaniment.
While every song won’t be for everyone. There is definitely something for everyone on this album. Not every album with have every song that makes a hit but there are certainly quite a few in this collection that will appeal to the masses.
Over all this is a 9 out of 10 and even with Billy’s vocals a little on some he pulled this together nicely with his raw and rough edged style.
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