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Jack Russell

Shelter Me

Review by Gary Hill

Jack Russell is probably best known as having been the lead singer in Great White. I have to think that it might be more accurate to think that Great White was his band. I mean no disrespect to the rest of the guys in the band, but listening to this album shows that so much of that sound was Russell's sound.

I should discuss why I've put this under heavy metal. There are a number of reasons. First, a few of the songs definitely qualify. Secondly, Great White was considered a metal band at the time. The boundaries of the genre might have changed, but this album is so tied to the same general sound of that act that I feel it should still land there.

If you dig bluesy hard rock with great vocals, this album is for you. If you've ever been a fan of Great White, give this a try. I'm betting you'll fall in love with it. I'd say that there is a pretty good chance this will make my best of 2018 list. It's that good. The majority of the credit for that success belongs to the man himself. His voice is impeccable and the hooks are so great.

This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2018  Volume 5 at lulu.com/strangesound.

Track by Track Review
Shelter Me
Fast paced metal guitar leads this thing out of the gate. It drops a back for the vocal section. Russell's voice really shines here.
Take My Pain
A bit more of a straight rocker, there is still a definite metal edge to the guitar sound. Yet, this has some hints of punk, too. This is the kind of thing you would expect to hear from the singer of Great White. It's not far removed from that band's sound, really. I really love the guitar soloing on the outro.
Leave Me Lonely
This comes in jazzy and some acoustic guitar soloing brings melody to the introduction. The vocals come in over the top of this mellower arrangement, establishing the tune as a ballad. It works upward with more layers of sound and energy, but maintains that mellower slower motif. I dig the crunchy guitar edge that emerges, but everything about this track is magic. This really feels a lot like Great White. The melodic electric guitar soloing on this is classic and helps to establish the piece as a power ballad.
Long Way to Go
The opening riff here brings more of a metal edge, but the cut lands toward the blues rock end of things. In fact, it's a classic blues progression at its heart. This is one of the most Zeppelin-like cuts on the disc. It's also a strong number.
Hey Bulldog
Keyboards bring this into being, but it works out to a cool hard rocking jam from there. This is another that has some definite Zeppelin-like sound in the mix. This is playful and fun. While there isn't a lot of metal on this tune, there is some here, particularly on the ascending pattern. There are some Beatles-like moments here, too. All in all, this is rather quirky, but great fun.
You'll Lose a Good Thing
Another with a lot of blues in the mix, this rocker has a very traditional texture to it. It's classy stuff, but not the most metallic thing on the disc.
24/7
Much more of a metallic stomper, this thing really rocks. I dig the guitar soloing on the number, but everything about this is exceptional. This might be the catchiest tune here. It's definitely a highlight of the disc.
The Fault's All Mine
I dig the bouncing kind of rocking riff that makes up the main structure of this. There is a bit of a jazzy kind of element to this. For some reason it makes me think of Queen a bit. All that said, this is another strong song on a disc that's full of strong music. The guitar riffing movement mid-track is so classy. This cut has some things about it that even lean toward progressive rock.
Roll with the Tide
Very much the kind of thing you'd expect from Great White, this track has a healthy helping of power-ballad styled sound. It manages to rock out to some degree, while still remaining mellower than a lot of the disc.
Faith in You
At its heart this is a killer blues rocker, but it has enough of a crunch to land it in the metallic zone. The guitar solo section is a pure technical metal kind of exploration, while piano on the cut lends a different edge to it.
Save Your Love
Here Russell creates a new version of the classic Great White tune. I have always loved this evocative power ballad styled number. This version really does a great job of recreating the magic of the tune. I honestly can't tell you if I prefer this rendition or the original. This one plays it mellower, with some strings in the mix, but it seems to add to the charm in some ways. There is some particularly intricate and emotional sounds built into this thing.
Shine On
Now this is a classy blues rocker. It has some Zeppelin in the mix for sure. It's a powerhouse tune. It's perhaps not metal, but it really rocks. I love the guitar soloing on this thing. The harmonica later in the track adds a lot to the mix.
When I Look into Your Eyes
The closer comes in as more of a melodic mellower number. It drops back to a piano and voice ballad approach for the first vocals. It works outward from there is a rather bluesy balladic piece.
 
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