ROBERT JON & THE WRECK
Robert Jon & The Wreck… who be he/they? A new one on me. A quick glance at their Facebook page reveals they’ve been on the go since 2011, and identify themselves as exercising their chops within the genres of Southern Rock/Country Blues/Rock ’n’ Roll. And that they love the Allman Brothers, Lynyrd Skynyrd, ZZ Top and The Eagles. Okay, so nothing original here then, it seems. Listening to the album, that certainly transpires to be the case. A hundred per cent derivative. Yet, it’s also a hundred per cent authentic sounding amalgam of their influences, across eleven tracks that are delivered with conviction and passion.
And amalgam is the key word here, as it never feels like one thing or another. Thank fuck, I must say, as country music is generally not for me. So songs like ‘Gold’, while there’s a discernible country vibe running through its sonic veins, never feels overtly country. Likewise with songs such as opener ‘Oh Miss Carolina’, which veers more towards a soulfully laidback Southern rock delivery, but with mild splashes of country colours on their canvas. In fact, this opener is almost climactic in feeling, as if the finale to some sort of Southern rock musical. A premature climax? Oh no, ‘Last Light on the Highway Pt. 2’ is the album’s timely ejaculatory finale, and Robert Jon & co at their most diverse, with a few prog-ish touches also brought into the mix.
Then there’s stuff like stomper ‘Can’t Stand It’ which has more of a blues rock feel but, again, never fully succumbing to out-and-out monolithic genre adherence. The album, as such, is quite a diverse and refreshing listen. Don’t get me wrong, we’re not talking musical iconoclasm here. Familiarity reigns throughout, but moulded into their own take on whatever influence or genre adherence has crept into their compositional pot. And there’s great musicianship throughout, but it’s Robert Jon Burrison himself whose voice binds everything together with a great sense of authenticity to the bygone period of music that’s axiomatic in their pastiched fusion.
Press blurb accompanying this promo informs they “are back and ready to tear up Europe all over again.” I’m guessing that was written before the new coronavirus was declared a global pandemic, as Covid-19 seems to be wreaking its own havoc on Europe and beyond. There are also a ton of tour dates listed, from early May until mid-September, so I’m guessing these will all be postponed if they haven’t already been. No gigs until 2021 at the very earliest, according to the experts. A shame, because the songs on ‘Last Light on the Highway’ feel as if they’re craving a live setting; this is music that needs to be experienced first-hand, to really engage with its entertainment factor. A great album, for sure. This is certainly not a wreck… Robert.
Robert Jon Music
LAST LIGHT ON THE HIGHWAY
Review by Mark Holmes
8th May 2020
1) Oh Miss Carolina
2) Work It Out
3) Can't Stand It
4) Tired of Drinking Alone
5) Do You Remember
6) This Time Around
7) Don't Let Me Go
8) One Last Time
10) Last Light on the Highway Pt 1
11) Last Light on the Highway Pt 2
COUNTRY OF ORIGIN:
"This is certainly not a wreck..."