Trex Road today travels in a state I never mentioned in my musical tales. Oregon is in the North West of the United States, not far from where grunge was born in the 90s, but the band I’m going to talk about today in its sound has nothing of the wild rock of those bands, if not perhaps the alternative attitude. Eli Howard has been one of the absolute references of the state’s country scene for more than 10 years. One who has played live in thousands of concerts and who has made known his talent even outside the borders of Oregon. His music is totally immersed and inspired by the atmosphere of the South of the States, a mixture of southern rock and country really original and explosive. I’m not kidding the sound of these guys is really incendiary and does not take prisoners. He is not a novice, he has already appeared on albums by other independent artists such as the Lowdown Drifters, but this is the protagonist of today’s story, is their official debut. Already from the beautiful cover you can see inspirations from a glorious past for southern music, a taste of peaches of Georgia hovers over the notes of this record. You will tell me: but what does a mushroom have to do with peaches? The mushroom was the symbol of the best (or one of the best) southern band in history: the Allman Brothers Band and peaches instead are the symbol of the birthplace of the aforementioned band, namely Georgia. Let’s leave this story of 50 years ago and return to the bright present that awaits this band. It’s true they have already shared the stage with other spectacular bands, they have been forerunners of live Whiskey Myers, Shane Smith & The Saints and Steel Woods, just to make some name that now fills the stadiums, but with this album will make new and numerous proselytes: I have no doubt. The record opens with the single that has already depopulated in recent months in streaming services: Wildfire. A piece that opens with an almost gothic chorus and guitar and flows into a dragged rock of the South. The sound is gritty and “full”, the voice is made for this sound, accompanies us on a journey that runs from the swamps of Louisiana, to the peach plantations of the aforementioned Georgia, but does not disdain a detour to the Texas desert. The sound is that, the inspiration of the greats of the past is declined in a personal way and having shared the stage with original and talented bands, like those I talked about before, has contributed to the maturation of an explosive sound. The sound of keyboards, which accompanies all this exceptional opener, plunges everything into a seventies haze that is the icing on this excellent cake. Get Right is guitars, it’s groove, it’s a vintage southern rock and as for the previous track the keyboard is the guide to a sound from the past. They don’t copy, they interpret, and Eli Howard’s voice deserves attention, powerful, effective, and damn expressive. The next Piece of Work is a country rock ballad, the steel guitar steals the scene for a few minutes to the fat electric guitars, but then they come back for the chorus. Beautiful piece among the roots of American folk music and a more modern appeal. Bad News is a beautiful piece with a 70s flavor, the guitars steer in funk rock, the rhythm wraps you and the presence of another independent author from the best talent, Justin Clyde Williams (I had already talked about him in this article: https://trexroads.altervista.org/empty-rooms-justin-clyde-williams-2021-english/) it only increases the expressive quality of a beautiful song with an irresistible groove. The production of TimLightYear is perfect, leaves free the expressiveness of the band, Eli Howard has a southern sound yes, but alternative, does not disdain ranging from country to rock music of the past and harness it would be a crime. The solo of this piece is a jewel, the lessons of the greats of the past have been assimilated by artists with true and sincere talent. You want to time travel? Listen to the rock ballad Without You that seems to come out of a session with the great and late Gregg Allman, the choirs, the sound of acid and light guitar. It softens the tension of the previous pieces and gives another high-level vocal performance. Radio if you will, but from a time when radio broadcasts were playing quality music. The album proceeds on southern tracks, the guitars are the protagonists, as in Phone Calls Home, where the groove is enveloping and the interweaving of the guitar sound still brings us back to the greats of American rock music and the keyboard only increases this feeling. I could listen to a song like this all day without ever getting tired and the hammond solo that introduces guitars is a joy for the ears. Fantastic! The album ends with the title track, acoustic guitar in a ballad that the voice of Eli Howard enriches, intense and full, the atmosphere relaxes, after being shaken by the groove that surrounds the other 9 songs of the record. The keyboard is not missing, just to remind us that the taste of the past never disdains it. A perfect way to end a great debut. A record that doesn’t seem like the first, a band that is already master of its sound, mature and convincing. A journey between the present and the past of southern music, inspirations that have been examined in a personal way, giving to our ears an explosive mix that attaches to the soul and not the spring anymore, you want to start again immediately and grasp other nuances, other solos and other intertwinings, as well as when you put on a record of another band with the mushroom on the cover. I can’t wait for the Trex Road to cross the streets of Eli Howard and his Greater Good, the appetite is eating and these guys have just begun to feed our souls.
Trex Willer by http://www.ticinonotizie.it
(you can find original italian article at this link : https://www.ticinonotizie.it/eli-howard-the-greater-good-end-of-the-line-2022-by-trex-roads/ )