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Roadcase Royale

First Things First

Review by Gary Hill

So you say you like Heart? You probably should check this album out, then. This is not a carbon copy of that band, by any means, but it definitely is a close relative. For one thing Nancy Wilson is one of the founders of this outfit. The music here with its hard rocking, blues based edge has a lot of similarities to Heart, too. The other real star here (not to diminish the guys in the band, but there are two people here with major musical credentials) is Liv Warfield. She's best known as part of Prince's New Power Generation. She's got a great soulful voice. The mix of hard rock, R&B, blues and more on this works so well. I know the list is getting crowded, but this is another contender to make my "best of 2017" list.

This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2017  Volume 6 at lulu.com/strangesound.

Track by Track Review
Get Loud
I love the soulful, classic rock sounds of this tune. It feels like something that would have been at home in the 1970s for sure. The political lyrics (all about women standing tall to protest for rights) are very much a product of today. The music here feels like it crosses over between rock and R&B. The mix of sounds is so compelling.
Not Giving Up
Another smoking hot rocker, this also has some of that classic R&B sound in the mix. This is more of a bluesy type of jam. The contrast between mellower and more rocking stuff is great. That harder edged stuff really makes me think of early Led Zeppelin. This is great stuff. I love the guitar sound. There is one section with male spoken vocals. The lyrics here seem political, too. They are definitely defiant.
Hold On To My Hand
The organ laden introduction to this again makes me think of early Led Zeppelin. The cut grows out from there with some cool rocking sounds. I absolutely love the vocal performance on this. The whole song is so hard rocking and powerful, though. I'd like to call this a standout, but there is so much great stuff here, that it really doesn't fit to name anything a standout. 
Even It Up
Here we get a new version of the Heart tune. They take it in a more unplugged direction and that lets the bluesy, honky-tonk side of the tune really shine. I still love the other rendition, but this seriously gives it competition by taking it in a different direction.
Cover Each Other
Another with a lot of classic rock sound built into it. This also has a healthy helping of R&B elements. In some ways this makes me think of a harder rocking version of Wendy and Lisa. This gets quite hard rocking as it moves forward.
The Dragon

There is definitely a classic Heart sound on this thing. It has a real heavy metal edge to it, too. This is arguable the most fierce thing here. It works really well, too. There is definitely a blues rock element at play here.

Insaniac
I love the mean guitar riff that drives the bulk of this cut. The tune has elements of funk built into it, too. There is a dropped back movement that leans toward jazz. All in all, this is another smoking hot tune on a disc that's full of them. The guitar soloing on this is crazed and on fire, too.
These Dreams
Here they do another song that Wilson originally recorded with Heart. I've never been a big fan of this tune. I'd say that if there is a weak thing here, it's this. It's not that it's bad, it's just the balladic sound of this seems a bit less powerful than the rest of the music they do here.
Mind Your Business (Live)
A bluesy rocker, this is a lot of fun. I like the guitar solo on this a lot. The whole tune just has such a cool retro groove. There is a cool acapella bit at the end of this.
Never Say Die
The main impetus of this cut is a percussive beat with a great arrangement of layered vocals. That said, there is some understated guitar built into it. The organ brings a definite retro blues and gospel vibe. This is a great way to cool things down to end without losing any style points.
 
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