BILLY F GIBBONS – Hardware (2021)
Rock and Roll Hall of Famer and ZZ TOP frontman BILLY F GIBBONS wants to take you on a desert trip with “Hardware“, his third release as a solo artist coming out this weekend. He compiled a group of a-listers including Matt Sorum (drums), Austin Hanks (guitar) and headed into the California desert to record in Pioneertown.
“Hardware” features the guitar prowess and vocals that have made Billy a legend but it also shows him stretching his music landscape past the place where the road ends.
Whilst the Latin vibe of debut ‘Perfectamundo‘ found Gibbons exploring new territory (an album which we at 0dayrox didn’t liked at all), second LP ‘The Big Bad Blues‘ saw him heading back towards his ZZ Top home, and that’s where fortunately he’s remained for ‘Hardware‘.
The desert vibe permeates the album itself, with Gibbons’ dry, raspy vocals providing the perfect overlay for the scorching Southern rock.
Says Gibbons, “The desert settings, replete with shifting sands, cacti and rattlesnakes makes for the kind of backdrop that lends an element of intrigue reflected in the sounds created out there”.
‘My Lucky Card’ delivers an attention-grabbing opener, a no-nonsense rocker driven forwards by its insistent guitar riff, and it’s immediately evident that Gibbons’ septuagenarian voice has lost none of its power.
‘She’s On Fire‘ follows in similar vein, and delivers an early highlight with not one but two enjoyable guitar solos. The appropriately titled ‘More-More-More‘ takes things up a notch – it’s a loud, brash and full-on slice of blues rock.
However, it would be a mistake to regard this album as a one-trick pony.
There’s nuance interwoven with the traditional hard rock, with elements of metal, country rock, new wave, blues and even surf music that make ‘Hardware‘ difficult to categorize.
Album highlights include ‘Stackin’ Bones‘, which features a guest appearance from roots rock band Larkin Poe, whose silky backing vocals provide a contradistinction to Gibbons’ growling vocals, and closer ‘Desert High‘, a stunningly-delivered spoken word piece accompanied by a sinewy guitar that evokes the legendary Gram Parsons.
Gibbons sums up Hardware‘s ecumenical construct; “We holed up in the desert for a few weeks in the heat of the summer and that in itself was pretty intense. To let off steam we just ‘let it rock’ and that’s what ”Hardware” is really all about. For the most part, it’s a raging rocker but always mindful of the desert’s implicit mystery.”
Which sums the album up pretty well.
”Hardware” showcases what Billy F Gibbons does best – Southern bluesy rock n’ roll with powerful vocals and compelling instrumentals, which provides an effective evocation of the scenery and mood of the Californian desert.
01 – My Lucky Card
02 – She’s On Fire
03 – More-More-More
04 – Shuffle, Step & Slide
05 – Vagabond Man
06 – Spanish Fly
07 – West Coast Junkie
08 – Stackin’ Bones (feat. Larkin Poe)
09 – I Was A Highway
10 – S-G-L-M-B-B-R
11 – Hey Baby, Que Paso
12 – Desert High
Billy Gibbons (vocals, guitar, bass, banjo)
Matt Sorum (drums)
Austin Hanks (guitar)