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CD REVIEW: Edgehill Avenue - Rambler
By Chip Withrow - 04/20/2009 - 09:15 PM EDT

Artist: Band: Edgehill Avenue
Album: Rambler
Label: Departure Records
Genre: Blues/Roots Rock
Sounds Like: Allman Brothers, Black Crowes
Production/Musicianship Grade: 10/10
Commercial Value: 8/10
Overall Talent Level: 10/10
Songwriting Skills: 9/10
Performance Skill: 10/10
Best Songs: With These Hands, Just Another Day, Out Of Time
CD Review:

Dense with bold Southern rock-style anthems, Allman Brothers-like swirling jams, and jangly countrified folk-rock – Edgehill Avenue’s new album Rambler is powerful, memorable music.

The opening title cut is a heavy statement, a blues-rocker about abolitionist Frederick Douglass. The smoldering guitars are overlaid with big slabs of organ chords, and Drew Perkins’ voice is rich and dramatic. The driving “With These Hands” that follows is one of my favorites – again, Paul Nevitt provides soaring organ riffs, and the harmonic chorus lingers in my head. “Just Another Day” is simply wondrous – ringing guitars, another lusty vocal turn from Perkins, and an overall lilting, psychedelic feel like a good Allmans tune.

The guys take a bluesy turn with the Black Crowes-esque “Don’t Come Around Here Anymore.” Lead guitarist “Hurricane” Mike McLaughlin fires off stinging lines, and Daphne Luster contributes soulful backing vocals. And “I’ll Be Leaving Now” is a nice detour, a pretty acoustic-based folk number. Another mellow delight, “Out Of Time,” comes later in the disc – McLaughlin’s crisp solo on that one is a treat, and a departure from his searing electric work.

“Just Don’t Care Anymore” is a nifty partyin’ song, choogling along at a brisk rockabilly clip with more blasts of Hurricane’s guitar and sweeps of barrelhouse piano from Nevitt. “Holding On” is richly textured atop the deep groove of John Poole’s bass and Lamont Melson’s drums – every instrument is given a chance to soar on this, the disc’s longest track. The set ends with the gospel/jazz/soul of “Justified,” a socially conscious bookend to the opening track. It’s as musically adventurous as “Holding On,” and the solos are brilliant.

Edgehill Avenue’s Rambler inhabits a unique spot at the crossroads where heady jams meet down-home roots rock. And this is a band I would love to see and hear perform.

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