Mack: Keys’ Auerbach leads Dr. John’s ‘Down’ upwardWritten by Jason Mack | | firstname.lastname@example.org
Dr. John, “Locked Down”
He may be 71, but Dr. John can still rock. Teaming up with the Black Keys’ Dan Auerbach gives a modern edge to Dr. John’s psychedelic rock and New Orleans blues. Auerbach produced the album and played guitar throughout. The riffs on songs like “Kingdom of Izzness” would feel right at home on a Black Keys album.
Dr. John’s vocals are laid back and effortless yet still powerful. “You Lie” is a great blues track with smooth backing from saxophones, wild drumming from Max Weissenfeldt and more killer riffs from Auerbach. Dr. John has plenty of out-there songs about voodoo and other topics, but he gets personal with the last two songs. He sings life lessons to his kids on “My Children, My Angels.” He delves into gospel on the final track “God’s Sure Good” with lyrics like “God’s been good to me, better than me to myself. Saved my soul when it was all I had to sell.”
“Locked Down” is a breath of fresh air from Dr. John. Thanks to Auerbach, he was able to create a contemporary album without straying too far from what makes him great.
****1/2 out of 5
Rascal Flatts, “Changed”
Gary LeVox’s voice is so unique and polarizing that you either love it or hate it. For those who can stomach his particular brand of twang, Rascal Flatts’ latest release is its most mature album to date.
The opening track and title song “Changed” is an uplifting ballad about getting a second chance. The message is appropriate for the band’s first album under new management. The album quickly gets back to Rascal Flatts’ pop country roots with the first single “Banjo,” which heavily features the title instrument along with rocking guitar solos.
“Come Wake Me Up” is a solid take on the classic country theme of longing for a lost love. It’s sure to hit the radio and climb the country charts before too long.
With an almost constant shift between emotional ballads and fun pop songs, there’s not much of a flow to the album. However, graded on a song-to-song basis it is the best release to date from Rascal Flatts and a great value with 15 songs and a 58:08 length for the deluxe edition.
***1/2 out of 5