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CD REVIEW: RICHIE KOTZEN – Salting Earth

Label: Headroom-Inc.

Release Date: April 14, 2017

Rating: 10/10

Reviewed by: Todd “Toddstar” Jolicoeur

With the month of May about half gone, I am finally able to wrap my arms and ears back around some new tunes… and with the latest from Richie Kotzen, I am treating my ears to the best around.  This disc is full of 10 gems that collectively generate notions of Album Of the Year in my mind.  Disc opener “End Of Earth” starts off with some guitar sounds and noodling that draws you in, but once the song kicks in full swing, including a great riff and Kotzen’s soul-driven vocals, we are off and away on a killer rock journey.  “Thunder” follows and gives us more of the guitar work Richie is known for, but the way the riffs mold themselves around the rhythm section (also played by Kotzen on the disc) and let the vocals weave themselves in and out of the musical material makes this one of the best on the disc.  “I’ve Got You” is a track that leans into a more mainstream rock vein than most, but it works within the parameters of the other songs.  The vocals are simple and straightforward teaming perfectly with the guitars from verse to chorus and back again.  The lyrics are beautiful and subtly draw you in.  “This Is Life” is a cool bluesy rock track that ties together a lot of the different sounds and grooves of the other tracks without sounding repetitive or overdone.  The bass lines, guitars, piano, and vocals workiong together will draw comparisons to other artists, but this song is all Richie.  “Meds” is a moodier track that keeps things sensible and fun.  The groove from the bottom end chugs along nicely under the electric paino and guitars.  Kotzen’s vocals drip with emotion that conveys the spirit of the lyrics perfectly.

“Divine Power” slows the mood of the disc down a bit with a cool acoustic groove that opens the track and slowly morphs into a bluesy rock track that is packed full of riffs and solos as well as a cool rhythm section that drives the song from open to close.  The vocals are rich and give the song punch at the chorus.  “My Rock” features more Kotzen guitar, but the real star of this show is the vocal lines that move in tandem with the piano work that is interspersed into the songs structure.  The vibe of this song elicits emotion, thanks to the overall sound created by Richie.  “Make It Easy” is another cool rocker that comes at you from teh first note and doesn’t let up until the song ends.  The bass lines underneath the vocals and guitar gets your attentino, while the drums add the perfect punch to the songs rhythm.  This song features the lone performance by someone other than Kotzen when Julia Lage tosses some background vocals in the mix.  Final word on this song – I dare you to listen to it and NOT tap your foot along to the rhythm.  “Cannon Ball” is a perfect song to start winding down the disc.  The piano and vocal duet that opens the track lulls you into a safe place and the blanket of guitars and rhythm section that join the mix helps keep the mood soft and warm.  The lyrics are telling and really let you into the mind and heart of the songwriter behind the guitars.  Disc closer “Grammy” is a killer tongue-in-cheek track that is raw and fun.  Thankfully Kotzen thought long and hard before overproducing this track.  The simple acoustic guitars paired with Richie’s vocals is an awesome way to make you listen to this track all the way to the end… and then start the disc all over again, not wanting the aural fun to end.

Tracklisting: End Of Earth – Thunder – Divine Power – I’ve Got You – My Rock – This Is Life – Make It Easy – Meds – Cannon Ball – Grammy

RICHIE KOTZEN LINKS:

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SALTING EARTH – ITUNES

CD REVIEW: RICHIE KOTZEN - Salting Earth

Filed Under: CD Reviews

About the Author: ToddStar - that's me... just a rocking accountant who had dreams of being a rock star. I get to do the next best thing to rocking the globe - I get to take pictures of the lucky ones that do. I love to shoot all genres of music and different types of performers. If it is related to music, I love to photograph it. I get to shoot and hang with not only some of my friends and idols, but some of the coolest people around today.

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