Album review: The Lonely H – The Lonely H

This is good-time music. It’s got everything that you need: bendy, blues- and rock’n’roll-infused guitars, confident  brass, an unobtrusive but muscular rhythm section, a strong and soulful vocalist, and a good understanding of how to write coherent, tuneful, ass-shaking, country rock. This five-piece, who have been together for around a decade, hail from Port Angeles, Washington, where Raymond Carver died – yet another act from the Pacific Northwest. What are they building up there ?

The Lonely H released their fourth album, self-titled this time out, earlier this month. There’s a lot of “classic rock” labelling going on with these boys and that doesn’t quite ring true for me – there’s too much country in the mix (for it to be classic rock, not for me to like it, I dig on country, but then you already knew that). Classic rock makes me think of Thin Lizzy and The Eagles; this record reminds me more of the likes of Little Feat, but with added rawk.

Within a few bars I knew that this was a band that would be best-experienced live – there is zero chance of their putting on a bad show. There is nothing wrong with this LP – it just feels to me that the slickness of the record could do with being roughed up a little bit. This record makes me want to smoke, drink really cold bottled beer, and go dancing somewhere sweaty and loud.

The stand-out tracks for me are the Motown/Exile on Main Street-influenced “Try Again” and “Head in the clouds” (by the way, check it, Bobby Keys is sax-ing it up in there). I’ve also had my head turned by the more reflective, romantic “Love Her Anyways” which features some delightful, understated country-rocking guitars, and the gentle, harmony-rich closing track, “Highway Heart”. Slide, man; gets me every time.

Before I go, I also want to share with you my favourite picture of recent weeks. Rock + state of undress + bravado + BEARD. World, I give you guitarist Eric Whitman. He rules.

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