Friday, November 2, 2012

CD Review - Aftermath Of The Lowdown by Richie Sambora


For over 25 years Richie Sambora has been the steady-as-a-rock lead guitarist and right-hand man for Bon Jovi. Over the years, he has released two solo albums, “Stranger In This Town” and “Undiscovered Soul,” which highlighted his guitar-playing prowess.

Now, after a decade of some great personal turmoil that saw him going through a very public divorce, losing his beloved father to cancer, and a stay in rehab for some alcohol problems, Sambora has straightened up his life, and taken some of the lessons he’s learned in the past few years to pour into his songwriting, and the result is his third solo venture, “Aftermath of The Lowdown.” And it is a gritty, down-to-earth, authentic album that shows an emotional side of Sambora that is rarely seen.

While Sambora’s first two albums featured his blues and rock guitar influences, this album focuses on his songwriting skills and his singing, proving once again that he’s not just a backup singer for Jon Bon Jovi – the man has vocal chops of his own.

The eleven songs found on “Aftermath of The Lowdown,” span a range from a raspy, funky all-out rock numbers to the softer ballads, and there are some that do reflect his “Bon Jovi” roots. After all, this is the guy who co-wrote some of that band’s most iconic anthems, such as “Living On A Prayer,” “Bad Medicine,” and more, so it stands to reason some of his own songs would be similar in nature.

The first featured single off of this album, “Every Road Leads Home To You,” is a catchy, hook-driven number about a guy just wanting to get back home off the road. The number is brilliantly produced with a driving beat and lush strings that make it a memorable song.

“Taking A Chance On The Wind” shows off Sambora’s bluesy licks, with an almost country-feel, while “Nowadays” has a more pop rock flavor to it. “Sugar Daddy” is an irreverent, sassy number that is just fun to listen too.

“Seven Years Gone” tells about a man looking back on what all he’s missed or messed up in the past years and his regrets. “You Can Only Get So High” is also a reflective song about the ups and downs of life. Both numbers are soulful and heart-grabbing.

Two of my favorite numbers off the album are “I’ll Always Walk Beside You,” and “Weathering The Storm.” Both are emotional ballad numbers, softer in nature, and highlight Sambora’s range of vocal skills admirably.

There are a couple of songs that just didn’t work for me. The first number on the CD, “Burn That Candle Down,” was a little odd, with a lot of overdubbed effects that just weren’t necessary and didn’t sound like Sambora at all. “Learning To Fly With A Broken Wing,” while a well-written number, was overproduced as well with a heavy hand that took away from the lyrics.

Overall, “Aftermath of The Lowdown” is a wonderful look at where Richie Sambora has been in the past few years, and where he is headed once again – clean, sober and doing what he does best – making great music.

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