The latest review of "Long Road Back to Eden". This will appear in the December issue of Blues Bytes Magazine. (Graham Clarke)
Lightnin’ Rod & the Thunderbolts recently released Long Road Back To Eden (Memphis Blues Records), their first album since 2014’s Guilty of The Blues. Lightnin’ Rod Wilson is still handling guitar and lead vocals, and he has retained the trio format, joined by Greg Kitzmiller (drums/percussion) and Jimmy Seville (bass), with guests Tommy Cate (harmonica), David Sears (piano), and Kristi Kitzmiller, Danielle Gross, Kaylee Bays, Tiffany Wilson (harmony vocals). The new release includes nine songs, with seven originals from Wilson.
The opener, “Kentucky Mojo,” is one of those spirited blues rockers that Wilson and band do so well. He is a first-rate guitarist and his feisty vocal is a great fit. “Reverend Jones” is a tribute to a late preacher man who said “No” to the devil and never relented in his fight against evil, while the energetic title track admonishes against the evils of sin individually and collectively. Meanwhile, the moody “Till The Sun Goes Down” mixes gospel and the blues and has an old-school, sweaty Mississippi Delta feel, while “Florida Shore” has a breezy vibe as Wilson opts for warmer climes.
The two covers appear back-to-back. First is Bob Dylan’s “Don’t Think Twice, It’s All Right,” and Wilson’s version takes the same mid-tempo approach, but the extra instrumentation is effective. Wilson also does a fine job on Louis Armstrong’s feel-good anthem “What A Wonderful World.” “The Morning Sun” is a poignant elegy for a recently-departed pup, and the closer, “I Should Have Seen That Comin’,” is a tough blues rocker signaling relief at the end of a relationship.
I enjoyed Lightnin’ Rod’s first two releases, but haven’t heard any new material in about 15 years. It’s nice to see that he’s still making great music. As always, he gets maximum sound and energy out of the power trio attack. He’s a powerful guitarist and vocalist and the rhythm section is spot on. With great songs and performances, Long Road Back To Eden, should please fans of blues rock.