Wednesday, October 22, 2014

CD Reviews: Slash and Sammy Hagar (Hint: Great Christmas Gift Ideas!)

Slash and Sammy Hagar
I know...nobody is buying CD's these days. Well, if you're a rocker like me, I've got a couple of CD's that should make you reconsider. They couldn't be any more different, but they both rock in their own way. Oh, and Christmas is coming (still early, but just saying), so these would also be great gifts for the rock fan in your life!

Slash with Myles Kennedy and the Conspirators - World on Fire
Most hard rock artists tend to lose their musical edge as they age (see Aerosmith, Rolling Stones, etc.). However, nobody told Slash. His recent music has been possibly the strongest of his least since Appetite for Destruction. With Apocalyptic Love (read my review of this CD here), Slash put together what is by far his strongest lineup since the original Guns 'n' Roses. With World on Fire, this band has gelled and they sound even better! Myles Kennedy, Brent Fitz and Todd Kearns combine with Slash to create one of the best hard rock CD's you'll find. This is exactly the type of CD you want to hear from Slash (and would love to hear from a band like Aerosmith...).

With 17 songs and clocking in over 78 minutes, you definitely get your money's worth. Highlights include World on Fire, 30 Years to Life, Bent to Fly, Stone Blind and The Dissident. If you compare Apocalyptic Love to Appetite for Destruction (relax, I'm only making a point here), then World on Fire is what Use Your Illusions could have been if Axl hadn't ruined those CD's with overproduction. Heavy, raw guitar-driven rock.

Sammy Hagar with Vic Johnson - Lite Roast
On the other side of the spectrum, usually loud, hard-rockin' Sammy Hagar offers up a mellower, acoustic CD. Accompanied by guitarist Vic Johnson, Hagar hits on a collection of his solo songs and a couple of Van Halen classics. The stripped down, bare bones versions of these songs allow Hagar to showcase the soulful side of his voice.

Don't let the fact that this is an acoustic CD fool you into thinking it's a soft, boring CD. This is Sammy Hagar after all. There's still a strong element of fun and energy. While you won't find many of his older classics like I Can't Drive 55 or Heavy Metal, the songs he performs lend themselves well to the acoustic treatment. Highlights include Dreams, Finish What Ya Started and Eagles Fly.

Overall, 2014 has been a very strong year for hard rock CD's...with the new Foo Fighters CD still to come next month! I'm sure I'll do some kind of "Best of 2014" list here as we get near the end of the year. What's been your favorite music of the year so far?  Thanks for reading and please share this post with your friends.

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