Artist: Michael Stanley
Listenability Scale: 92%
Released by: Line Level Music
A Review by:
– The Dude on the Right
There is something to be said about musical consistency, and although not as pop-driven as he once was when he was with Band, Michael Stanley just consistently puts out music that brings me instantly back to growing up on the north coast, in a steel and auto town called Lorain, Ohio, and still loving that Midwestern rock that I still know all of the words to.
The latest offering from Michael Stanley is titled "American Road," and if you’ve ever heard anything by Michael Stanley, or the Michael Stanley Band, there will be familiarity with the sound, but he still does his best to keep things fresh. The CD opens with "Nothing and Everything to Prove," a guitar-driven rocker that quickly reminds you of the sound of Michael Stanley. The title track "American Road" takes us on the trail out west, and there’s lots of reminiscing in "The Times We Had." But Michael stretches things a little, grooving it up some with the eternal questions "What Would Frank Do," an ode to Frank Sinatra and what he would do when closing time comes around, and even gets some bluesy stuff going with "Backing Up Sally G," one of the funnest songs on the CD. I’m still trying to figure out the lyrics a tad, because one would think with the song title, and his singing about being a in a band at a bar, that Sally G. were the lead singer of this band, but with lyrics like "And then Sally hits the stage, all I can do is stare, she’s got legs that go forever, and a world-class derrière," "And now she’s down to nothing, and I just forgot my name," and finally "And I swear my friend for just one night, I’d die a happy man, ‘cause the girl can pick up dollar bills, and never use her hands…". With that I’m now assuming Sally G. is a stripper, but I have yet to be in a Gentlemen’s Club with a band, but I suppose they might be out there somewhere.
Probably the most commercial sounding song, maybe able to get some airplay on adult contemporary radio or satellite, or maybe used as a montage type of song for a movie soundtrack, would be "Wake ‘Em Up." The sort of funny thing I found about the song, though, is that in keeping with old time rock and roll roots, it’s probably got an intro that’s a few bars too long, but then again, that’s old school rock and roll.
Some decent up-tempo songs, some blues and groovin’, and quite a few medium to slow "reflecting on life type" of songs round out "American Road." There’s also a decent cover of "Be My Baby," the Spector/Barry/Greenwhich song probably made most famous by The Ronettes, and really, the only song I can take or leave would be "Vicodin & Prayer," but that’s just me. He’s backed up nicely on the CD with lots of his friends and Jennifer Lee does a great job at handling most of the back-up vocal duties.
Sure, I will admit a little bias in reviewing this review as Michael Stanley both with Band and without, has always been one of my favorite artists, so my liking 12 out of 13 songs gives "American Road" a 92% on the Entertainment Ave! listenability scale. If you’ve ever liked an old Michael Stanley type song, you’ll probably enjoy this CD, and if you’re looking for just some good ol’ Midwest type of rock, it’s pretty much here.
That’s it for this one! I’m The Dude on the Right!! L8R!!!