The Vegabonds are from Alabama and play likable southern rock meets country. It’s music to play in bars and tap your toes too, reflecting on that gal you lost, but enjoying happy memories rather than bitterness. It’s not music for crying in your beer.
Opener Partyin’ With Strangers is in many ways a work of genius: it opens with a strong country feel and steel guitar but morphs into a solid country rock song with southern boogie taints — whatever type of music you like, country, western, rock, boogie, it’s drawing you into the album.
It’s an anthem for normal people too, all about living your life: the gal’s gone but the narrator is gonna speak his mind and follow his heart as he drinks clear liquid on the hood of a car (Americans do that, and have tailgate parties).
Second track Generation Of Happiness is Tom Petty as much as anything else, the lyrics a comment on the modern generation, though vague enough to be non-specific about politics, and risk offending any part of the audience. Some good guitar, too. The lyrics have that epic rock feel, while not actually meaning much: “Changing of the guard it’s plain to see / The revolutions gonna start with you and me.”
Elsewhere the Petty-esqe Everything I Need seems be talking about a girl but name-checks other rock tunes — Sin City, Joshua Tree — and contains lots of other odd lines, and that it’s possibly about being on tour — all they need is music and the people they meet. I Ain’t Having It melds — successfully — boogie and reggae.
The Vegabonds are established in the homeland — as the title suggests, this is their Vth album — so we guess they’re hoping to crack the UK now. It’s commercial and slick, a cooler take on the Nickelback sound.
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