Thursday, March 6, 2014
Label: Indie 2014
Review by: Urban "Wally" Wallstrom
"Influence" is the debut full-length studio album by the AZ, U.S. band previously known as Fire Alley and their indie albums were reviewed here at RockUnited.com in the mid 2000's. Roxster is more or less the brainchild of semi prolific hard rock guitarist and technician Jack "Jaxxon" Schwarz (works at Fender guitar and has traveled the world giving seminars and hosting clinics since the 80s) and the six-string bender is basically responsible for all the arrangments and production on the record.
The music on "Influence" is however exactly what the title suggest, the tribute album to classic rock acts and heroes with twelve covers of everything from Liverpool's pride and joy a.k.a. The Beatles (The Word) to the utter rock'n'roll madness of Ted 'King of the Rednecks' Nugent (Live It Up). The songs on the album are all played with skill and finess and it's definitely the musicianship that impress the most as the band performs all of the 70s (mainly) and 80s rock on stage as the cover act.
Fire Alley vocalist James Welch (son of Jack) sings nicely along to the classic rock of "Stormbringer" (Deep Purple), "Shady Lady (Uriah Heep), "Stone Free" (Jimi Hendrix), "Presense Of The Lord" (Eric Clapton), etc. I'm sure they're a blast live on stage as 'Influence' for the most of time work as the pretty enjoyable cover album. In the end, it's merely "the cover album" though and we'd much rather have brand new material to write home about. Great guitar work with a fluid melodic style and tone true to the originals.