By Chyrisse Tabone, Rock At Night Tampa Correspondent
REVIEW: Resonate by Glenn Hughes (Release date November 4, 2016-Frontiers Records)
“The Voice of Rock” and true musical icon Glenn Hughes is releasing a new studio album Resonate on November 4th.. The album is Hughes’ first solo album in eight years since he has been quite busy with side projects Black Country Communion and California Breed. The album includes his solo band members Soren Anderson (guitars, co-producer), Pontus Engborg (drums), Lachy Doley (keyboards), and long-time friend Chad Smith (Red Hot Chili Peppers) played the drums on two tracks (“Heavy” and “Long Time”).
I decided to put the new CD Resonate on the hi-fi stereo system (yes, I’m old school) and take a quick listen. From the get-go, the first track “Heavy” had me time-traveling back to junior high days of listening to 70s classic rock (of course, Deep Purple). I could have easily been listening to this while wearing my bell bottoms and cruising in the ’66 Buick Riviera on the way to a dance or roller rink. Very nostalgic! The song is very heavy (like the title) with a scintillating electric lead guitar, slow and heavy, punchy bass line, and wailing vocals that give the song a solid heavy rock feel. And did I say “sexy”?
The second song “My Town starts out with a fast, driving beat, and sweeps into a very solid classic rock feel. Hughes sings with determination (“this is my town, my love, my soul”) but also shows a lyrical fun side (“navigator, alligator”). There are plenty of lead guitar breaks and heaviness, giving the song an aggressive feel.
The song “Flow” continues with heavy guitar riffs that borders on metal, a slow steady beat, a touch of wah-wah, and an underlying groovin’ feel (“Oh, you let it flow/ you let it go/I’ve been no imitator and I’ve been no go-between”). The song then dramatically slows down in the middle and builds up to a crescendo with Hughes’ wailing voice as he takes listeners on a roller coaster ride of pure attitude. Good nasty rock!
“Let It Shine” has a steady beat and vocals that say “I’m in the moment, in the zone….no matter where I roam, I make it my home.” Probably Hughes was reflecting on his experience of touring and I sense an autobiographic moment in this song.
“Steady” might be my favorite song. It opens with a cool retro 60 or 70s organ and has almost a prog-rock feel. The song is hard-driving and there’s plenty of drum rolls on the toms. The song almost has movements as it evolves into a pretty chorus (“I am breaking a smile/ I’m ready to win/ I spent for awhile/ I’m steady again). As it speeds up I almost have a feeling of velocity–running or jogging as Hughes sings (“I’m tracking a mile/ I am spinning a dial/ I’m steady again”). There is plenty of tempo cool downs and speed ups, a cool guitar solo, and a very “Proggy” ending. Really, the song is brilliant in composition and delivery.
“God of Money” and How Long” look at the dark side of life with their heavy guitars, driving drum beat, and searing message. Hughes really lays it on the line, no holds bar. The message clearly comes from a man who has “been there”.
“When I Fall” may be considered the “slow song” in the album since it is a ballad with a slow organ intro which hearkens a nostalgic 60s or 70s Motown-ish feel. I do not consider it to be hard rock—which is fine—the song almost gives one a break to “cool down” after the first driving part of the album. If the album is played at a party, it is the kind of song that signifies it is “time to grab somebody for a squeeze-me-tight slow dance”. “When I Fall” is very romantic, soulful, and definitely Hughes is reflecting about his life (“I have a lot of hope and I know it all depends, I live a life of love , I’m gonna’ bring it to my friends”).
“Landmines” has a definite funk-rock groove and again takes me back to the 70s with its blues organ harmonies, funky riffs, and “Soul Train” funk vocals. Hughes is getting down as he shows his love of soul, rhythm, and blues. There is even a “talk box” effect (think Chaka Khan or Sly Stone) in the middle of the song, solidifying the whole funk groove.
The album revs up again with the fast rocking beat of “Stumble & Go” as this song rocks from the get-go (“Just like an emotional bird, I fly low and hear every word, Holy Father, won’t you look down on me, I’m here in the gallery”). The whole song appears to be autobiographical as Hughes reflects on his body mending (he had double knee replacement last year) and life from a spiritual viewpoint. There is even a church organ break in the middle of the song and choral harmonies as he describes how he “stumbles”.
The last song “Long Time Gone” is acoustic guitar driven in the beginning and Hughes’ voice is sweet and mellow. Later, the song breaks out into whole forceful pandemonium with the funk organ, pounding bass, and solid drum beat. The song is perfect to end what may be defined as a solid hard rock album–possibly the best I have heard in a long, long time.
In summary, after I listened to Glenn Hughes’ album Resonate, I felt it defined honesty and authenticity in song writing, as the mature Hughes reflects on life in a raw but powerful way. It is by no means pessimistic but actually hopeful and reflective as Hughes “wears his heart on his sleeve” by singing about the things that are important to him. It hearkens back to not only his hard rock roots but also tips the hat to blues-rock and even Motown. There isn’t a single dog in the bunch and the album beckons to be played over and over again. Hughes’ voice and songwriting are at the top of the game and it’s hard to believe he is in his mid-sixties. It doesn’t get any better than this. All classic rock fans need to add this to their collection of “new favorites”.
Available on CD, Deluxe Edition (CD and DVD), vinyl and digital download
- My Town
- Let It Shine
- God of Money
- How Long
- When I Fall
- Stumble & Go
- Long Time Gone
Glenn Hughes: All Vocals, Bass Guitar, Acoustic Guitar
Soren Andersen: Guitars
Pontus Enborg: Drums & Percussion
Lachy Doley: Keyboards
Chad Smith: Drums on “Heavy” & “Long Time Gone”
Produced by Glenn Hughes & Soren Andersen.