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CD REVIEW: ROADCASE ROYALE – First Things First

CD REVIEW: ROADCASE ROYALE – First Things First
Loud & Proud Records
September 2017
Reviewed by Shane Pinnegar
8 ½ /10

As guitarist of arena rock legends Heart, Nancy Wilson was as responsible for some of the mightiest ‘70s riff rockers (Barracuda, Magic Man, Crazy On You) as she was wistful folky ballads of surprising tenderness (Dog & Butterfly) and big hair power ballads (These Dreams, What About Love, Never).

Here, she teams up with the incredible Liv Warfield, formerly of Prince’s New Power Generation, who brings funk and soul – and fellow Prince protégé Ryan Waters on lead guitar – to add to Wilson’s folk n’ raunch.

Pitched as a real band – the title means exactly what it says, that this is just the start for this band – the numbers are made up of the rest of Heart (Chris Joyner on keys, Dan Rothchild playing bass, and drummer Ben Smith), who, along with Nancy, found themselves at a loose end after a falling out between the Wilson sisters over a family incident last year.

The result is new ground with some familiar reference points along the way. Opener Get Loud is a feminist anthem of empowerment that deserves to be a massive hit. Hold On To My Hand is a sublimely powerful song of support and strength. Nancy revisits Heart’s Even It Up a little too familiarly, but their take on These Dream – Wilson sounding scarily like her sister – adds new dimension and simply beautiful vocal harmonies.

It’s certainly not all sweetness and light for Roadcase Royale: unafraid to tackle serious topics, The Dragon, written for Layne Staley, is suitably grungy as it tells the tale of someone hopelessly addicted yet loved so much; Not Giving Up wrestles with the divided political climate we find ourselves in, and Insaniac counsels “self-determination in the face of aggression.” Whether abuse be domestic or international, it’s unacceptable.

Wilson & Warfield make magic together on First Things First, and despite an early setback in their tour supporting Bob Seger being cancelled recently (due to the Silver Bullet Band man’s back problems), quality like this needs to be heard far and wide.

CD REVIEW: ROADCASE ROYALE – First Things First

Filed Under: CD Reviews

About the Author: Editor, 100% ROCK MAGAZINE

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  1. Ken says:

    I heard this album a few weeks ago. Pretty solid. Liked it.

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