Every now and then a band comes along that blows your socks off. Robert Jon And The Wreck are that band for me and this track – from their newly-released album Last Light On The Highway – is the perfect feel-good rock anthem for these troubling times. Surely, in the current lockdown, we are all tired of drinking alone.
We’re both feelin’ lonely
How’s about tonight
You and me
We get together
And do some drinking?
Cause I got a bottle of wine
And we both have plenty of heartache
We never could quite get it right
And I’m tired of thinking
Maybe bring over some bourbon
Or we could get wild on tequila
I just wanna know that it’s workin’
Cause it ain’t been for so long
And I’m tired of drinking alone
First up, it’s important to appreciate that there is little about Robert Jon And The Wreck’s style that is original or innovative. Indeed, they sound straight out of early Seventies’ Southern rock but, in my opinion, are all the better for it. Original maybe not, but authentic certainly. They have tapped into the music of a time and place and made it appear impressively fresh and relevant and – most importantly in these gloomy times – great fun, as the band’s lockdown video for the song shows.
Secondly, an admission. My musical tastes have been largely stuck in the early 1970s since, well, the early 1970s. My favourite book about music is David Hepworth’s excellent 1971: Never A Dull Moment, which singles out that year as the absolute peak of rock – and I will fight (verbally) anyone who disagrees.
I can still recall the palpable sense of excitement I felt when I first heard the Allman Brothers Band (on Mike Raven’s late-night Radio One programme the day after Duane Allman died) or – a few years later – Little Feat (at an all-night party in Bradford when I hovered over the record player glaring at anyone who didn’t want to listen to Waiting For Columbus yet again). I felt the same frisson the first time I heard Robert Jon And The Wreck.
Fans of bands such as the Allman Brothers, Lynyrd Skynyrd and ZZ Top will love their revamped Southern rock sound with superb vocals from Robert Jon Burrison, great slide guitar by Henry James, the slick piano work of Steve Maggiora and a driving rhythm section of Andrew Espantman on drums and Warren Murrel on bass. Blend in some wonderful harmonies and even the Eagles come to mind.
For the uninitiated they are not a new band. Based in California’s Orange County they’ve been around since 2011 and had already released a handful of excellent albums (all worth a listen) before I ‘discovered’ them on an Amazon Music stream in the ‘people who like this also like...’ section.
Tired Of Drinking Alone is just one of 11 self-penned tracks on the new album and there is not a dud among them as the band continues to blaze a trail. It’s not all Southern rock but an intoxicating harmony-led cocktail of blues, soul and even a few splashes of prog rock.
In a recent interview with Pete Francis of Blues Rock Review frontman Burrison talked about how the band has evolved. ‘Every now and then I listen to the old records to see how far we’ve come,’ he said. ‘We’ve discovered a little more about ourselves but some songs off the Fire Started record we made in 2011 aren’t that far off Oh Miss Carolina [another great track from the new album]. But our song Last Light On The Highway is something only this version of the band could have done. There’s so much going on and it moves so well that I don’t know if we could have pulled that off 10 years ago.’
The title track and the rest of the album were premiered by the band with an accomplished live-from-home performance you can watch here. Enjoy responsibly – and get wrecked!