I just received a copy of John Oates new album which was followed by DVD of a TV special that ran on PBS. After listening to it a couple of times, one song really stands out. Hearing “Close,” I couldn’t help but think of Delaney and Bonnie. Remember them? It turns out I thought of them for good reason: the sensual female voice on “Close,” Bekka Bramlett, is the daughter of Delaney and Bonnie Bramlett.
Another thing that immediately stood out to me is that John is diging into his roots. This is absolutely not a Hall and Oates R&B album. Another Good Road is the TV show DVD follow up to his album Good Road To Follow and it contains many of the previous album’s songs. John displays quite a range of styles here, especially when working with the likes of Vince Gill and Jim Lauderdale. Oates is backed by A-list Nashville players including Shane Theriot on guitar, Steve Mackey on bass, Russ Pahl on pedal steel, Kevin McKendree on keyboards, Johnny Richardson on drums, and Wendy Moten and the aforementioned Bramlett. Oates, playing both electric and acoustic guitars, shows those styles and his roots, displaying the effects of early influencers Doc Watson and Mississippi John Hurt.
“Let’s Drive” does have a bit of that Hall and Oates R&B sound to it as does “Pushing A Rock Uphill” but both are tinted with a blues and folk feel.
Going back to that John Hurt influence John gives us a great “Stack o Lee” along with some really good guitar work.
For something new from someone we probably all thought we knew check out Another Good Road.
– Mark J. Smith