E.Z. Riders - Long Way From Home
Southern Blues/Rock has been with us for quite a while now and since the days of The Allman Brothers and Lynyrd Skynyrd back in the '70s, there's been little progression in the genre and fewer and fewer bands willing to take up the mantle. One band willing to give it a go is Italian three piece E. Z. Riders. Their second album 'Long Way From Home' shows what can be achieved by sticking to the traditional structures of the music whilst putting their own stamp on it. The album isn't a whiskey soaked 'Skynyrd tribute, it has a softer and more rounded edge to it. The songwriting is solid and the musicianship adequately gives the songs credibility.
The album opens with 'Dangerous Behaviour', a solid track with a sound plucked straight from the '70's. Changes in mood and tempo keep the interest and the catchy chorus all work well together. By contrast, a slow guitar riff and harmonica introduce distorted vocals on 'What It's Worth'; a looser arrangement with a slightly heavier feel. The album as a whole wouldn't be out of place on the racks at a Virgin Record Store in the 1970s; the sound that the band achieve being raw and unadulterated.
There are two versions of the title track 'Long Way From Home' on the album. Put there due to them being undecided on which one they prefer, to fill the album out or just to let the listener choose? Whatever the reason, I would have preferred another track as even with the acoustic version of 'Long Way From Home', there are only nine tracks on the album.
There are some nice diversions, in particular the up tempo riffs of 'Let Me Be Your Man' and the twangy guitar of 'Far Away'; the later evoking images of cowboys riding across the plains in a spaghetti western. The album works well, the songwriting and overall sound sticking true to the roots of Southern/Blues/Rock. Though musically not to the very high standards of the music from the likes of Lynyrd Skynyrd and Z Z Top, this album is still worth taking a chance on.