Black Country Communion – same

Black Country Communion – Glenn Hughes (bass, vocals), Joe Bonamassa (guitar), Derek Sherinian (keyboards) and Jason Bonham (drums)

Black Country Communion? Isn’t that a rock band? What the heck are they doing in the GEPR? Honestly, I got interested because of the participation of one of my favorite keyboardists, Derek Sherinian (Dream Theater, Planet X). But this all-star list of names from Classic Rock (even if not “Prog Rock” as such) has to catch the attention of anyone who was around in the ’70’s. Glenn Hughes was bassist and vocalist for Deep Purple, Trapeze and had a brief stint in Black Sabbath. Jason Bonham is the son of Led Zeppelin drummer John Bonham, and is a well-respected drummer in his own right, even subbing for his father in some recent Led Zep reunions. “Black country” is the nickname for the industrial area in Britain where Hughes and Bonham grew up. Joe Bonamassa is a well-known American guitarist, influenced heavily by British and Irish blues bands, and also prog rock (he frequently plays Yes‘s “Heart of the Sunrise” and the “Würm” section of “Starship Trooper” in his live performances). So, I thought I should hear these guys.

Well, this just goes to show that fantastic, energetic and emotional rock doesn’t need to be in the “Prog” category. But it sure doesn’t bear much resemblance to what they call “rock” nowadays. In the ’70’s, they would have been monsters. And even today, their debut album hit the charts, topping #18 on the US Rock charts and #6 on the US Indie charts. Definitely a guitar and vocal oriented band, though the drumming and bass work is also spot-on perfect, and Sherinian‘s keyboards (mostly organ) are restrained and understated, fitting perfectly with the ’70’s retro-rock feel of the album. No Planet X-style heavy fusion insanity to be heard here, move along, move along. This is more the Billy Idol/Alice Cooper side of Sherinian‘s multi-faceted talent.

If you need high complexity, classical music influences or avant-garde difficulty in your music, then Black Country Communion is probably not the band for you. But if you wish you could have attended Woodstock because you would have enjoyed it (or if you did attend Woodstock and enjoyed it), then you’re gonna love this album. To be honest, I’ve been getting burned out on some of the pompous, over-produced mental gymnastics I get from my daily diet of prog. Black Country Communion has proven to be a hard-rockin’ antidote. Great stuff! AND, a new album in the can, to be released in June 2011, only about 9 months after their debut. — Fred Trafton

Click here for Black Country Communion‘s web site


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