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Non-Prog CD Reviews

Joe Boris


Review by Gary Hill

Sometimes less is more. I think that would be the case here. There isn't a bad song here. There is a good range of sounds, too. The thing is, this double disc set just seems to go on a bit too long. I think that makes it drag a little and the individual songs can't shine like they should. Each disc in this set is packed just about full as CD will let it be. If say three songs or so were left off, this would be stronger. If it was shrunk to a single disc of 75 or so minutes, keeping just the best material, this would be an amazing album.

The music here runs along the lines of blues rock, jam band music and more. As I said, everything here is pretty good, but there are places where it starts to feel a little samey. Then again, how many people still listen to whole albums in the days of streaming music? This is a very talented artist, and this is a good album that could have been a great one.

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Track by Track Review
Ain't Easy

The guitar riff that gets us going here is tasty. The tune works out to a bluesy, rocking sort of tune. This has a lot of style and energy. It's a great to start things in style.

Kick Away The Blues
There is some funk at play as this gets going. The retro organ sound is a nice touch. The number still has plenty of that blues angle to it, too. This is another captivating song and another winner. There is some fierce guitar soloing on this thing, and the energy is so high.
Shotgun Mamma
More of an Allman Brothers sound is here, but there is also some more traditional music concept at play, too. This is a different flavor, but one that certainly fits with the songs we have heard to this point. This also has some inspired guitar soloing. It has a definite Southern leaning, too. We get an organ solo on this piece.
What You Find
While there is quite a bit of country music built into this, it also has a healthy helping of rock. There is a mellower dropped down section as a nice variant here. The guitar soloing is particularly melodic.
Firing Line
More of a mainstream rocker, this feels more modern than some of the rest. It even has some little hints of proggy music. Overall, it's more of jam band sound that's in the driver's seat here. We get some killer guitar work on the number .
The sounds of a party start this. From there, we're taken into a real roots music kind of piece with plenty of folk and country in the mix. Yet, it's more like the kind of stuff in that vein that the Grateful Dead did.
Wake Up
A bluesy rocker, this is all class. It has a timeless quality to it and a lot of style. The instrumental exploration takes it in some amazing directions. It's dramatic and has world leanings along with some proggy angles. We get some funky bass later in the section, too.
Bill Dawson
This is another tune that falls well into the jam band category. It isn't a huge change, but when it drives out to the instrumental section, it's absolutely on fire.
On My Back
The prominent keyboard presence here, along with some of the song structure, lend some prog comparisons. Otherwise it's more blues-leaning jam band stuff. This one does bring some variety and really stands out.
Time On The Run
Coming in fast paced and hard rocking, this is another that makes me think of the Allman Brothers to some degree. This is crunchier than that, almost leaning toward heavy metal territory in some ways. I'd consider this another standout of the set. The instrumental section on this is another that gets into both world music territory and almost proggy stuff.
Hard To Find The Time
Starting mellow, this is funky, bluesy, soulful and so tasty. There are some proggy vibes on the jam portion of this song, too.
Copperhead Well
A hard rocking, bluesy grind, this is absolutely on fire. It's another standout tune and features some smoking hot guitar riffing and soloing.
Set Me Free
A reggae jam, this is all about marijuana. It's very much a Bob Marley kind of number. I really dig the talk box solo instrumental section.
It's Time
Jam band sounds merge with mainstream melodic rock on this tune. It's another competent piece, but it's not at the level of some of the rest here.
Pride In Your Pain
This is more of a melodic rocker. It's sort of on the mainstream side, and not really a standout to me.
Trials & Tribulation
Another that is sort of in the more-of-the-same category, the album is really starting to drag a little through this section.
Blue-Eyed Willow
Now, this is more like it. This is an intricate and somewhat complex acoustic guitar solo piece. It reminds me a little of Steve Howe in some ways.
High As Heaven

Slower, mellower and very evocative, I really like the vibe of this a lot. It builds out to more rocking territory and gets into some killer jamming further down the road.

Change of Season
A bluesy groove is on the menu here. This is another strong tune. It really has some tasty instrumental work and an evocative vocal delivery. It does seem to go on a little longer than it needs to, though.
Hoochie Coochie
Now, this feels like something Stevie Ray Vaughan might have done to some degree. There is a healthy helping of funk in the mix, too.
Year Of The Locust
Jazz, blues and jam band sound merge on this tasty rocker. It has a bit of a prog angle to it, along with some more of that Allman Brothers thing. They put in some smoking hot jamming on this thing, and I really dig some of the bass work on it. There is a short percussion workout on this, and the jam that comes in after that is absolutely on fire with an almost old-school Santana sound. There is some serious funk in the mix later, too.
The Waltz
More 1970s rock based, that Allman Brothers thing is definitely in the mix here. This is a classy tune with a lot of emotion and musical expression built into it.
This has a really jazzy Latin groove to it. It's on the mellower and more melodic side, but it does have a good energy and tempo to it. This evolves into some killer Allman Brothers meets prog sort of jamming further along the road. There is actually a short break that makes me think a little of Peter Banks era Yes.
Move On
I dig this bluesy, energetic rocker a lot. It's another that has a definite jam band angle to it. It's meaty and has a lot of emotion built into it. The instrumental section is truly inspired.
This, Too, Shall Pass
I love the expressive guitar work on this. There is a folk rock meets jam band vibe here. This is another standout tune on the album. There is a seriously prog rock oriented movement that takes over mid-track on an instrumental section. That gives way to the sounds of the ocean. Those sounds eventually end the piece.
No, this is not a cover of the Dolly Parton song. This live track is a jazzy Allman Brothers kind of rocking groove. It's a lot of fun.
Damn Temptation
Another live tune, this has more of a blues rock vibe to it. They take this through a number of twists and turns, and it has some cool instrumental work built into it. I think this works better than the previous one did. The instrumental section gets into some pretty smoking hot jamming and features some expressive guitar work.
The hard-edged Allman Brothers kind of thing is in the driver's seat here. This works out some jazzy stuff in some ways, too. There is some of that old Santana vibe on this number, too.
I dig this funky romp. It's a lot of fun. While I wouldn't consider it one of the highlights, it's definitely strong.
The Road
Here we get a soulful funky groove. This is high energy and very effective. There is some positively scorching guitar soloing built into this song. That jam band stuff later in the track has a lot of charm and power, too.


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