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Non-Prog CD Reviews

Medicine Hat

Blood and Bone

Review by Gary Hill

This is quite an intriguing set. It calls to mind things like the Rolling Stones most often, but it moves into full country territory, modern alternative rock stylings and more. It’s a varied and effective release. If there’s a complaint to be made it’s that the vocals are a bit too understated, making them hard to understand. I said, “if there’s a complaint to be made,” because I’m really not sure that’s a complaint. It really suits the music to a large degree.

This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2016  Volume 4 at lulu.com/strangesound.
Track by Track Review
Feedback
This is just a short bit of ambient noise. When I say “short,” I mean that it’s a bit more than twenty seconds long.
Take the Bait
The cool bluesy rocking sound on this thing makes me think of early Aerosmith quite a bit. Blend in a bit of Kiss and the Stones and you’ll have the idea of what you are dealing with here. It’s a classy tune that’s timeless in tone and quite catchy. The horns really reinforce that Aerosmith thing.
Emmett Till
The Stones make up the biggest element here, but it also has some more of that Aerosmith sound. This is a bit rawer and leans toward heavy metal, too.
Mudhen
This has a punk rock edge to it, but overall it’s very much an old school blues based rocker. I like the piano on the tune. It has more of that Stones thing going on, too.
South 55
Imagine merging the Black Crowes with the Rolling Stones. Now, add some country music to the mix. You’ll find yourself pretty close to this balladic number.
Twelve Lights
There is a lot of Robert Johnson built into the first part of this. Add in some of the acoustic bluesy side of Led Zeppelin and you’ll have a good idea of the sound of the introduction. The cut shifts out to something that’s more modern. It has some psychedelia in the mix along with a healthy dose of alternative rock. The acoustic slide guitar brings more of that blues thing to play, though.
Old Country Home
Acoustic country blues makes up the introduction here. The song works out from there by powering up a bit, but not really changing the music concepts. It’s a good tune and a nice change, but not one of my favorites.
Diary of a Northern Soldier
There is quite a bit of country music here, too. This has a lot of the modern roots music element, too. It’s more contemporary in sound, but still has a lot of classic leanings. This is alternative rock more than anything else, but it’s greatly informed by older sounds. It’s a cool tune for sure. It’s one of the most “different” and one of the strongest. It’s dynamic, too, growing as it continues moving forward.
El Dorado Suite
Alternative rock is the defining concept of this tune, but it has a lot of flavors within that heading. There are even some hints of modern progressive rock here. I love the moody, growing early sections of this. As it continues to evolve there are sections that feel a bit like a modern drone rock take on the Doors. The piece really builds on that concept. This is almost seven and a half minutes in length, and they make great use of that time. This is one of the best songs here.
Blood and Bone
This is very much in line with the kind of country tinged stuff the Rolling Stones have always done here and there. It’s another great tune.
Blood and Bone (Reprise)
An old time single instrument (is that an accordion?)  take on the title track closes the set, occupying nearly a minute of time.
 
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