While rock and roll was once purely thought of as young people's music, Jon Haber has proven, at age 49, that one is never too old to rock. The New York-based music store entrepreneur has released his first full-length album, DEC3. While he had played in bands when he was younger, Haber never had an opportunity to release an album until now. The music reflects that of the era in which he grew up in -- 1970s and 1980s classic rock. Haber played most of the instruments himself, but is joined by Chris Saulpaugh on lead vocals and Mike Kalajian on drums.
The album opens with the driving country rock of "Put Some South In Your Mouth." With lyrics that would make David Coverdale proud, the song features some killer slide playing from Todd Mihan and a strong vocal from Saulpaugh. Saulpaugh's voice is high up in the mix throughout and with its similarities to Lou Gramm, why not?
A good majority of the rest of the album is power pop in a Beatlesque or Cheap Trick vein. "Where Should I Go Tonight" has ringing guitars and a killer chorus while "We're All Friends" has a crunchy guitar intro ala AC/DC. While these soungs are new, they sound as if they came right from a classic rock station's playlist, which is not a bad thing.
As with any album in this genre, there are the big power ballads as well. "Wouldn't Last" is an acoustic-flavored number not unlike Aerosmith's AOR triumphs while "Simple Mess" is very Beatlesque and showcases some melodic lead playing from Haber. "In Front Of You" would fit in neatly on 70s AM radio. It's a familiar sound, but one that makes these songs so instantly likeable.
The album's first single, "Red Line," is a song about the Syrian civil war from a civilian's point of view. The song, which features a Beach Boys-inspired break, laments the U.S. did nothing to help these people, though Haber maintains its lyrics come from a humanitarian standpoint, rather than a political one. The album doesn't tend to get heavy handed lyrically, otherwise. Instead, it focuses on strong melodies and playing.
The record ends as it began, with the country-inspired "Leave It All Behind." Big choruses and big guitars bring this strong debut album to a close.
DEC3 is proof that there is great music out there that people just aren't getting a chance to hear. The album is melodic, with hooks galore and strong vocals throughout. One can hope it doesn't take Haber 49 years to release his next record.