Riverdogs - California,
Riverdogs is a new band to me, but they actually formed towards the end of the Eighties. Although they came out of LA they were determined to avoid clichés and the flashy glitzy hard rock forms, and so adopted an original sounding blues rock style. When they were ready to record their debut demo they approached Vivian Campbell (yes, that Vivian Campbell) who was so impressed that he joined the band and played on the debut. Members soon went their separate ways, and the band stopped in the Nineties, only for attempts to be made to resurrect it a few more times. But, six years after the last release under the Riverdogs name, original members Rob Lamothe (vocals, guitars), Nick Brophy (bass, vocals) and Vivian Campbell (lead guitar) are back, along with drummer Marc Danzeisen (who joined the band just after the debut was released).
What makes this album such a delight on every single level, are the amazing vocals of Rob Lamothe. He has an incredible voice, rich and full of emotion, with great range and pitch and I find it hard to understand why this guy isn’t a star and why his name isn’t widely known. Apparently, he has released quite a few solo albums, and has toured Europe many times, but I’ve never come across him before. Vivian must be having a blast, and it shows in his solos which are both restrained and perfect for the melodic blues rock at hand. There is far more soul and emotion present in this album than in his day job (although as anyone will attest who has seen him with Def Leppard, Whitesnake or Dio, he is one heck of a guitar slinger on stage). Added to these two are a strong rhythm section and great songs, so all one has to do is sit back and enjoy it with a smile. Loads of hooks, great musicianship, plenty of melody and wonderful songs, what isn’t there to like? Although it is in the AOR vein, the album is still rooted in the blues and that gives it a foundation and strength that is often missing from this style of music, and is all the better for it. Superb.