It’s never too late to get into an artist or a band. And sometimes, actually more often than I can count, I wind up getting into bands/singers who have maybe been around 20 or 30 years and never really did it for me save for a handful of songs back then. But out of the blue, their latest effort comes around and it just hits me in a way that it might not have in 1987. Such is the case with JACK RUSSELL’S GREAT WHITE and their brand new record He Saw It Comin’ (January 27, Frontiers Music). When it arrived it was one of those, “I’ll get around to it” type deals. And when I finally did I was way more than pleasantly surprised by what I heard.
Now, let it be known that I’ve always considered Russell a fantastic singer whether I was into the tunes or not. And lemme tell ya, the guy’s voice is every bit as good as it was, which floored me. When you put that together with the killer band behind him made up of Tony Montana (Guitar, Keyboards), Robby Lochner (Guitar), Dan McNay (Bass), Dicki Fliszar (Drums), it’s a recipe for success. As soon as opener “Sign of the Times”, with Russell’s soaring vocals and timely message about being too reliant on technology started I sat right up. The lyrics are dead-on and the hook would sound equally at home in days of yore as it does now.
Another track that got me right away was “Love Don’t Live Here”. Hell, I was singing this one at work today from 8am-4pm straight and will probably do the same tomorrow. Everything comes together in a bluesy, mid-tempo rocker and trust me, it’ll stick in your head, too. “Anything For You” is a thing of absolute beauty, an acoustic ballad that was immediately vying for Maestro’s favorite track. It’s one that I can’t listen to just once; it takes at least three before I can move forward. McNay’s bass is the engine driving “She Moves Me” and there’s some latin-flavored percussion to go along with it, and it fits nicely within the album’s framework.
Title track “He Saw It Coming” at times sounds a bit like FOREIGNER with a healthy dose of CHEAP TRICK on the chorus. Check it out, you’ll see. I caught myself smiling quite a bit during this one. When “Don’t Let Me Go” came on, I felt like I was in somebody’s upstairs apartment listening to music on their old record player. This has such a “sitting around on the floor with friends back in the day” vibe to it that it’s yet another winner. And out of nowhere comes this ripping, yet soulful guitar solo, which only cements its standing.
“Blame It on the Night’ is straight-ahead balls-out rock and arguably the album’s heaviest track. Closing the disc is “Godspeed”, a doo-wop affair that, like many others, bears repeat listens. I know it’s often considered cliche to say that something is a “feel-good record” or anything like that, but it’s 100% true in this case. JACK RUSSELL’S GREAT WHITE have a lot to be proud of with He Saw It Comin’. It certainly brightened MY day, and I defy anyone to be in a bad mood after listening to it from start to finish. In fact, I guaran-damn-tee you’ll come right back for more!
STANDOUT TRACKS: “Love Don’t Live Here”, “Anything For You”, “Don’t Let Me Go”, “Sign of the Times”, “Godspeed”