Caleb Johnson & the Ramblin’ Saints – ‘Born From Southern Ground’ – Album Review

Caleb Johnson came to us via American Idol, but don’t let they fool you into dismissing him because that would be a huge mistake on your part.  Caleb’s debut album came out in 2014 very quickly after winning said singing competition and the album did pretty well, but the record company didn’t know what to do with him and Caleb was rather unhappy with them and with the album as he was forced to do songs he didn’t necessarily like.  After a long battle and finally breaking free from that contract, Caleb is back 5 years later with the album he wanted to make as his first album.  This is the real Caleb Johnson.

Caleb Johnson now has a band called ‘The Ramblin’ Saints’ and what a backing band they are. The album shows every influence that has impacted his life from classic rock, southern rock, soul and even a little funk all with one of the most powerful voices in rock today on full display.  If you really had to classify this album, it is straight-up, pure rock & roll.

The album opens with “Hanging On” with a nice Hammond Organ and then a build up until it rocks out which is pure classic rock in style and mixed with some lovely ladies that do the backing vocals on this (and other songs) that also adds a little soulful touch to the song.

The next song, “Solid Gold”, has a Rival Sons vibe probably because it was co-written with Jay Buchanan of the band along with Blair Daily.  It is bluesy piece and that guitar sounds a lot like the new Rival Sons album which is a very good thing.

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Quiet Riot – ‘Road Rage’ – Album Review

Quiet Riot isn’t really Quiet Riot as there are absolutely ZERO original members in the band.  The closest thing they have is Frankie Banali who was in the band during their 80’s heyday. For starters, this is not a good thing.  Next, the album was supposed to be released back on April 21st with then lead singer Seann Nichols, however, Seann left the band (or fired) in March prior to its release.

So Quiet Riot needed a new lead singer.  They quickly added former American Idol alum, Jason Durbin to be the new singer.  They smartly decided to delay the album release and re-record it with their new lead singer.  All that is fine as James has released a couple good solo albums; however, his last one was a little subpar.  Despite that, I had a little bit of hope as I do like James Durbin.

Now here is something weird.  They went back in an actually re-wrote all the songs, but kept the same song titles probably because the artwork and design of the album was already done and Frontier Records didn’t want to spend anymore money.  My first question is how bad were the original songs that you had to completely re-write them. That definitely doesn’t bode well.

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American Idol Farewell

Did you ever watch American Idol? I am sure at sometime over the last 15 years you had to have seen some shows.   I probably watched the first 4 seasons in full and then would only watch when they got down to the Top 10 in the next 4 seasons and then I would just watch when I could.

However, I did watch the final season, mainly to see who they bring back, and I actually enjoyed watching it.  There were a few standouts and their final 4 were all pretty decent. My daughter loved MacKenzie Bourg and I was a fan of Trent Harmon and La’Porsha Renea (who I thought was going to win until Trent’s performances on the finale). And Dalton had some pretty good moments (I love his cover of “Rebel Yell” by Billy Idol)

Watching the final season reminded me that they really did have some good artists even though most of them were crap. I also found it funny that some of the people that lost did better than the winners – can we say Chris Daughtry & Adam Lambert. Of course everyone knows some of the winners were spectacular – Kelly Clarkson (3 Grammy Awards) and Carrie Underwood (7 Grammy Awards). And one even won an Academy Award – Jennifer Hudson (also 1 Grammy).

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