Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Review: Bucket and Co. “Guitars, Beers, and Tears”

Best known as the long time guitarist for Bad Company (beginning in 1990 with their blockbuster comeback, “Holy Water”), Dave 'Bucket' Colwell has just released his first solo album, “Guitars, Beers & Tears.” Bucket has surrounded himself with good company over the years, and many of his friends are featured guests on his record. The list is long, but worth articulating. We have Iron Maiden's Adrian Smith lending vocals and lead guitar to “Make Up Your Mind” and vocals on “Reach Out” (he sounds a lot like Sammy Hagar here), Edwin McCain on “Why You Call” and “Survive”, Steve Conte from The New York Dolls singing “If You Need Me At All”, Spike from The Quireboys on “Girl of My Dreams” and “I’d Lie”, Danny Bowes from Thunder on “Life”, just to name a few. To say that “Guitars, Beers, and Tears” isn’t comprised of one of the most diversely talented groups of musicians and vocalists is an understatement. The first concern is that Bucket and Co. is going to sound like a disjointed mess, but the record plays like one big all-star party straight through. It is surprisingly cohesive despite the revolving door of players and singers because nearly every song is centered on a strong rock hook with Bucket’s distinctive guitar licks taking it to the next level.

Bucket has a long and storied career in the music business and has appeared with many artists including Bon Jovi, Slash, Lynyrd Skynyrd, and ZZ Top to name a few, and you’ll hear bits and pieces of their influence and others throughout “Guitars, Beers, and Tears”. There are lots of excellent tunes that blend classic rock and blues with those sweet AOR melodies from 80s rock. Colwell is a terrific songwriter trying to bring fun, memorable melodies back into rock. My favorite cuts include “Make Up Your Mind”, “Why You Call”, “If You Need Me” and “Life”. The only tracks that didn’t work so well for me are those sung by Spike – sorry, but the guy’s voice is shot. He still sounds OK on a rough and tumble rocker, but he simply isn't suited for softer songs or ballads – it makes about as much sense as blowing your nose with sandpaper.

In my opinion, “Guitars, Beers, and Tears” is one of the most pleasant melodic rock surprises of the year. This is Dave 'Bucket' Colwell’s self-proclaimed labor of love, and it is a record that demands to be on everyone’s bucket list.

iPOD-worthy: 1, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 10

Bucket and Co. on MySpace. Official Site.