July 27, 2010 - Fairfax/Vagrant
On their self-titled debut, J. Roddy Walston And The Business do everything they can to win over even the most jaded music fans. Their sound has everything there is to love about rock â€™nâ€™ roll, blues, country, gospelâ€¦ even punk rock. From the beginning refrains of â€œDonâ€™t Break The Needle,â€ with Walstonâ€™s raspy, whiskey-soaked drawl, itâ€™s easy to tell something amazing is in store on this album. By the time the first song hits full swing, Walston is howling like a banshee and his band is grooving big-time. Ever wish Eagles Of Death Metal had a little more meat to them? Take away EODMâ€™s silliness, add heaps more soul, highlighted by Walstonâ€™s bar-room piano pounding, and youâ€™re getting warm. Listen to another song by Walston, and itâ€™s getting hot.
But wicked, bluesy rock is only one of the things up Walstonâ€™s denim sleeves. â€œPigs â€™Nâ€™ Pearlsâ€ is like a long-lost Allman Brothers gem; â€œI Donâ€™t Wanna Hear Itâ€ ainâ€™t no Minor Threat cover, but it does sound like a transcendental moment at a post-Woodstock party; and â€œBrave Manâ€™s Deathâ€ is a heartbreaking ballad with a gut-wrenching narrative and the albumâ€™s best chorus hook.
But still, thatâ€™s not all. In fact, itâ€™s just a small sampling of what this album offers to anyone willing to give it a try. Sure, its focus on traditional blues rock may scare some listeners off, but guaranteed it will win over anyone who affords it more than 10 minutes of a chance. Heck, track two, â€œFull Growing Man,â€ alone would make New York hardcore fans, for example, realize that maybe the breakdown and the mosh might be a tad, um, limited. Madball aficionados might even don rebel flag bandanas, just sayinâ€™.
And yes, when it comes to J. Roddy Walston And The Businessâ€™ sound, the most obvious reference point is the Black Crowes. But we donâ€™t remember ever having this much fun listening to the Black Crowes.