Growing Old With Rock and Roll

Growing Old With Rock and Roll

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Russ Still and the Moonshiners - Still Cookin' (2017)

Written by Ed Price, posted by blog admin

Led by singer/songwriter Russ Still, sole author of eight of the album’s nine tracks, Russ Still and the Moonshiners remember a time when the ol’ glory of southern rock flew high.  Back when bands were finding a new way to reinterpret the well-worn shoes of country music, there was a spark in innovation led by The Outlaws, Lynyrd Skynyrd, Blackfoot, Hydra and several other notable artists.  Less riff-y and bombastic, and more entrenched in tasty licks and easy breathing groove, Russ Still and his compatriots put on a good show here. 

“Promised Land” slams out riffs n’ home-cooked lead guitar with ample support from the vibrant bass grooves and steady handed drumming.  Tinkling ivories only further the highly melodic element, the nice separation between instruments providing Still plenty of room to exercise his blue-eyed soul rapture.  This is the good stuff from a bygone era brought back to life with imagination and passion to burn. Working up an acoustic trot, “Long Way from Home” simmers and works up a nice acoustic trot, but finishes at a hot electric boil.  The bass-centered “Glorine” is packed with verse/chorus hooks from start to finish and paints the tale of a hard-edged woman with a “cigar in her mouth,” with appropriately fiery wah-guitar bringing the character to vivid life.

Kicking off with a piano ditty before transitioning into an acoustic slow jam, “I Can’t” is the album’s epic ballad and capped off by a rising swell of volume until the electric guitars bring resolution and Russ’ voice finds the plateau. It’s a great all around track and one of the album’s best. The acoustic/electric guitar rocker “Goin’ Fishin’” makes for another high energy sing-a-along and pairs nicely with the Pure Prairie League inspired “Juanita,” a catchy country-rock burner where Still’s voice even manages to sound a lot like the legendary Craig Fuller.  “10,000 Ways” has Freebird-esque sprawl and may strike some as an ode to the powerful, lengthy album closers of the southern-rock heyday. The slovenly riffed lumber of “Workin’ Class Hunter” and the punchy “Run Away” finishes the album on a lively note.

Sophomore slump is nowhere to be found on the sizzling electric smoke of Still Cookin’.  These cats have command of their musicianship, teamwork and songwriting; you can tell the entire band knows one another’s strengths inside and out.  This is a great record that could have been released 30-40 years ago and would have ended up a huge seller. 

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