So after years of threatening to do it Jeff LaBar has finally given us a solo record. Calm down, One for the Road is an EP, not a full album. But if these songs are any indication of what he’s got stored up all this time then goddamn, let’s put out another one with a quickness. Because guess what? This thing was worth the wait! Seven songs and a healthy dose of Philly attitude make for one hell of an album to rock to, especially in the car. Plus, at times we get to see a heavier side than what we’re used to in CINDERELLA.
The first thing I noticed was how free and easy this project sounded, not weighed down by any label or studio expectations, and that was refreshing. The second thing that caught my eye was, “Holy shit, Jeff LaBar can sing!! Who knew?!?” With a voice that is gruff and world-weary he paints his picture across this seven-song canvas, and it is one that demands a look/listen. And yet another thing I could appreciate was a song like “Hello or Goodbye”, an acoustic-electric number which has easily the most stick-in-your-head chorus on the whole thing. It’s a pretty song with lyrics that will make you think, no question, and an emotional solo.
“Asking for a Beating” is one of two more fearsome songs, but to me this one takes the cake. One listen to the lyrics should be all it takes for you to come around to my way of thinking. The riff is killer and echoes throughout, begging for repeat listens. Opener “No Strings” is a great way to kick things off as it lets you know what you’re in for right from the first guitar lick. The first acoustic interlude takes shape in “Muse” which is very fluid for its 1:33. The second happens with “Ode to Page” which not surprisingly has a “Bron-Yr-Aur” feel to it. “Nightmare on My Street” is another heavy tune that has balls to spare, and complements “Beating” well.
We get a taste of the dirty blues in “One for the Road”, a song about a dirty drunk who’s lived a hard life, something some of us can really relate to. And that’s the thing with this EP…it’s real. And the songs provide a soundtrack to some hard livin’ that we can all get behind. ‘Cause we’ve been there, haven’t we? You can get Jeff Labar’s One for the Road now via Rat Pak Records. And I suggest you do!
STANDOUT TRACKS: “Asking For a Beating”, “Nightmare on My Street”, “Hello or Goodbye”