There is a music industry blog written by a guy named Bob Lefsetz. He can go a bit overboard ranting and raving on just about everything that is wrong with record companies and young musician’s quest for stardom over good material and content. Bob does not review or preview an act or release that does not touch him personally and never jumps on a bandwagon. When he does give thumbs up, you can rest assured the record is at least worth a couple of listens.
Bob recently raved about a new release by The Rhett Walker Band. I know nothing of their background but I picked up the CD on Bob’s recommendation. It is everything he said it was and more. Bob reveals in his newsletter that Rhett is a Christian artist but unlike any you expect or hear. If he had not mentioned it, I never would have known, as each song is full of positive energy without proselytizing. The music is crisp and draws on the right influences. Early U2, Bad Co., and even the Marshall Tucker Band come to mind at different times but Rhett’s voice and the lyrics as well as the music are his own.
The opening track, “Gonna Be Alright” is one for the repeat button. Young bands are not supposed to make a record like this – there is no self-indulgence, no shoe gazing emo trash – just a forward-looking song about faith in something bigger. “Come To the River” could pass as a Christian track but espouses personal faith inside the singer. “Make Me New” could be a song about the Lord or could be a new love seen as a rescuer. “The fourth track, “When Mercy Found Me” is the first time Jesus is name-checked in a song and, as with Richey Furay’s Christian music, Rhett just tells his story – he never pushes it on the listener - and the music and background harmonies are so good and fitting. It is the next track, “Get Up Get Out” that holds the two halves of the record together. Framed by just the right amount of fuzz-guitar and a note perfect solo, this is my favorite of the set.
There is not a bad or even just passable track on the 38 minutes – just the right length and the CD makes you want to sit through repeated listening. Other than the soundtrack for “Searching for Sugar Man,” there has not been a collection of new music that has made me want to that.
Thank you Rhett – and thank you Mr. Lefsetz.