Dear All About Jazz Readers,

If you're familiar with All About Jazz, you know that we've dedicated over two decades to supporting jazz as an art form, and more importantly, the creative musicians who make it. Our enduring commitment has made All About Jazz one of the most culturally important websites of its kind in the world reaching hundreds of thousands of readers every month. However, to expand our offerings and develop new means to foster jazz discovery we need your help.

You can become a sustaining member for a modest $20 and in return, we'll immediately hide those pesky Google ads PLUS deliver exclusive content and provide access to future articles for a full year! This combination will not only improve your AAJ experience, it will allow us to continue to rigorously build on the great work we first started in 1995. Read on to view our project ideas...


Chris Rea: Road Songs For Lovers

Doug Collette By

Sign in to view read count
Far more successful in Europe than America, based on upwards of two dozen studio albums to his credit, Chris Rea perseveres as the unusually erudite and pragmatic musician that he is with Road Songs For Lovers. This Englishman's first studio album in six years chronicles his impressions of the world inside and outside his own head and heart in a most evocative manner: what begins as personal ultimately becomes universal.

All of which is equally vivid in the writing playing and record production on the dozen tracks that comprise the album. But then Rea's always paid close attention to the practical virtues of his albums, such as Auberge (Atco/East-West),so he takes as much pride in his guitar work as his songwriting tasks. As a result, for instance, Chris uses his instrument to skewer the necessary evil of "Money," while he barely hides a snide tone in his vocal. Wielding such multiple means of expression is key to the man's self-assured air and that attitude, in turn, only underscores his message(s).

The rough-hewn sound of the man's voice also suits his persona because it doesn't allow for merely facile expression of any emotion(s). The exception to that self-imposed rule is an acceptance of the way things are and/or the way they go, i.e. "Breaking Point." Most of the cuts that tracks that populate Road Songs For Lovers, exhibit such hard-earned wisdom and, like "Happy On The Road," proceed at a temperate pace: it's as if Chris Rea, who produced the album himself, deliberately set the tempo to allow his sentiments to sink in.

For this reason alone, what might sound like world-weariness, on "Nothing Left Behind" for instance, only sounds like the ruminations of a satisfied mind, right down to the near slow-motion twirl of Rea's slide guitar. The slightly middle-of-the-road air Neil Drinkwater's piano imparts to this title song is a nothing but a decoy because the song itself contains a wholly casual air reinforced by the one of Chris' voice. And the keyboardist's organ work on "Two Lost Souls" is as substantive as the rhythm section of bassist James Ahwai and drummer Martin Ditcham. Likewise, Robert Ahwai's rhythm guitar in support of Rea's lead there, becomes the rudder by which the band turns back and forth between stock rock changes and a more delicate melodic framework.

It is a mystery who plays those horns on that cut because there is no corresponding detail in the booklet-are they synthesized sounds?. Nor is their due credit for the percussion that appears to enrich "Moving On; " those are unseemly oversights by a bandleader as seasoned as Chris, particularly given the fact he took photos for the all the covers and the aforementioned CD insert and thought to includes all the lyrics as well.

That's a relatively small blemish, however, much less egregious than the lack of just one more upbeat track. A single extra rocker would enliven Road Songs For Lovers without sacrificing its plush warmth sounds: the sonics of this album, as applied to the tantalizing guitar solo of "Last Train" and throughout the album, are a reassuring blend of succor and salve for body, mind and soul.

Track Listing: Happy On The Road; Nothing Left Behind; Road Songs For Lovers; Money; Two Lost Souls; Rock My Soul; Moving On; The Road Ahead; Last Train; Angel Of Love; Breaking Point; Beautiful.

Personnel: Chris Rea: guitar, vocals; Robert Awhai: rhythm guitar; Neil Drinkwater: keyboards; James Ahwai: bass guitar; Martin Ditcham: drum.s

Title: Road Songs For Lovers | Year Released: 2017 | Record Label: BMG


comments powered by Disqus


Start your shopping here and you'll support All About Jazz in the process. Learn how.

Related Articles

Read Absinthe Album Reviews
By Mark Sullivan
March 18, 2019
Read Chi Album Reviews
By John Ephland
March 18, 2019
Read The Time Is Now Album Reviews
The Time Is Now
By David A. Orthmann
March 18, 2019
Read Road To The Sun Album Reviews
Road To The Sun
By Dan McClenaghan
March 18, 2019
Read Rosa Parks: Pure Love. An Oratorio of Seven Songs Album Reviews
Rosa Parks: Pure Love. An Oratorio of Seven Songs
By John Sharpe
March 18, 2019
Read Hyperuranion Album Reviews
By Dan McClenaghan
March 17, 2019
Read Nuevo Valso Album Reviews
Nuevo Valso
By Friedrich Kunzmann
March 17, 2019