Artist: Lee Williams
Album: Long Road
Review by: Mike DeGagne
Long Road is a pleasant blend of blues/rock, mild rock, and guitar-feel good music, all of which act as a cozy little mattress for Lee Williams to lay his vocals. Williams sounds like he’s in the mood to have fun all the time, and the eight cuts that comprise the album let him outlet this to perfection. What’s more, Williams used no computers whatsoever to record these songs, as he did it all in his own analog studio.
The opening cut, which is the title track to the album, has a slippery guitar sheen to it with a bit of a blues/rock sound. There’s mild hints of Lynyrd Skynyrd, Georgia Satellites, and J.J. Cale woven throughout the instrumental element of the track, while Williams gives off a feel-good vocal vibe as he sings his lyrics. “Look Out…I’m Comin’ has a bit of Alice Cooper and a bit of Johnny Winter fused in, but the guitar work is what stands out here. Another classic sounding, straight-ahead blues/rock tune with no-nonsense or gadgetry. Following this, “Hold On” begins with a great guitar riff and continues with a raw, exciting 1970’s sound. Reminiscent of John Mellencamp from a vocal standpoint, there’s lots of energy drawn from both William’s singing and the barrage of guitar and noticeable drum work culminating in the background. Simply put, it’s a great little rock and roll song.
Continuing on, “Fed Up” is slick and dirty, from the patchy guitar to gravely singing of the chorus. More excellent riffs and plain-and-simple drumming give this tune its character. Again, like early Alice Cooper or Lou Reed, one gets the sense that Williams is a pro at playing in this style and making some effective rock and roll. “Rollin’ Into Town” has the same type of atmosphere, using an intimate rock and roll, club-like sound to grind out his licks and explode into the chorus…and let’s not forget those watery cymbal splashes for a little extra icing on the cake. “Gotta Rock n Roll” is rawest of all. Here, Williams sounds like that great forgotten rock of the 1970’s. There’s Pieces of Bob Seger, Ian Hunter, Dave Edmunds, or even any of Michael Des Barres bands strewn across this track, making it another great addition to the core rock sound that’s in the other tracks.
“Ode To Superheroes” is a guitar workout a la Jeff Beck at times, but the riff sounds a bit like The B-52’s “Rock Lobster”. That being said, the tune makes for an interesting hodgepodge of fretting and string bending. Everything from blues to rock to fusion can be detected in this fun little instrumental. The last track on the album, “Rocka-Rolla Man”, is a throwback to the feel good rock sounds of yesteryear. A bit Foreigner, a bit Rolling Stones, Williams manages to conjure up more great guitar gusto with a greasy yet wholesome feel to it.
Anyone who grew up listening to bands like Grand Funk Railroad, The James Gang, or Bad Company will surely love the entire output on Williams’ Long Road album. Anyone who didn’t grow up listening to these or other classic bands of the like will get a good taste of that classic sound from this album. Fun, free-spirited, unrestrictive and wonderfully rousing, Long Road is a great little package of pure rock and roll; nothing more, nothing less.
Review by: Mike DeGagne
Rating: 4 Stars (out of 5)