New York, NY (Top40 Charts)
The singer and songwriter of country and rock music known as BluesRock & Country Inc. has released his fourth LP album, "Rock'n Roll Heart." The full-length record contains 10 original tracks for an approximate total listening time of 35 minutes. Like previous releases from BluesRock, it has been proudly published as an independent record without the direction of the corporate music industry. Built on deep grooves, twanging guitar strings and raw, warm vocals, "Rock'n Roll Heart" makes a strong argument that BluesRock & Country Inc. may be Southwest Africa's most genuine rock export.
While "Rock'n Roll Heart" officially comes from the BluesRock & Country Inc. project, the true heart of the record is Namibia's Jos Slabbert, an Afrikaner of French-Irish descent on the coast of the Namib desert.
Asked to cite some favorites, Slabbert has no problem: "Buddy Holly, Chuck Berry, Fats Domino, Elvis Presley's first three albums, Allman Brothers, John Mayal and the Bluesbreakers, Keb Mo, the Living Blues, Taj Mahal - too many, really, to mention."
But what he says next tells the audiophile everything needed to understand "Rock'n Roll Heart."
"Of all the influences," Slabbert writes, "blues in many of its colours and variations has played a major role, and as I became older, country music started playing an increasing role, too."
He notes that "Even Elvis Costello
does country now that he has become older and tamer." However, nothing sounds tame about "Rock'n Roll Heart" for listeners familiar with rock music.
Songs like "I Feel So Good Today" and "I Need Your Sweet Inspiration" remind us that distorted guitars and a one-two beat aren't necessary for a driving, aggressively upbeat tune. It would verge on futility to find a saxophone lead on an indie release as effective as Slabbert's, too. Blues chord progressions and lyric themes color the entire LP, while Slabbert's singing ranges from an unpretentious Elvis to a less tremulous Neil Young. The blend of country and classic rock-n-roll braids as seamlessly as it does on a Creedence Clearwater Revival
All in all, "tame" is not the word.
"When composing, I often adopt the simple, direct structural approach of the '60's and '70s," Slabbert writes. This minimalist style of songwriting translates into a friendly-yet-insistent wave that picks listeners up and runs with them.
Asked to describe the themes of "Rock'n Roll Heart," BluesRock & Country Inc. says, "Most of the songs on this album are about personal relationships, the central theme being love and its ups and downs, but with an optimistic stance in spite of the odds. The tenth track is shamelessly political and naive, but I like it. I think it does express what many people feel, and even though I wrote it about eight years ago, it has become relevant in a political world where hatred has become fashionable, and I don't mean just in the USA."
In the end, Slabbert states that there is a unifying message behind his new album.
"In spite of the odds seemingly working against it, hatred having become fashionable to so many, love will prevail. Sigh! I know I'm naive, but I can't help it."
"Rock'n Roll Heart" from BluesRock & Country Inc. is available online worldwide from over 600 quality digital music retailers now. Get in early, blues, rock and country music fans.