"Analog Man" (Fantasy; 2012)

Reviewed by R. Scott Bolton

The story goes that The Eagles brought in Joe Walsh of the James Gang because their sound was too tame, too pop-ish, and they needed a rock'n'roll guitarist to give them some teeth. And, with Walsh delivering killer riffs like those in "Life in the Fast Lane" and "Those Shoes" (with Don Felder) and many others, it was obvious how successful that was.

But the interesting thing, however, is that it could also be said that Joe Walsh was the Eagles' heart. His lyrics are unabashedly honest, and he often wears his heart on his sleeve. He has no problem telling listeners how grateful he is for the life he's lived and will sing and record love songs to his wife that will mist your eyes.

Walsh's latest solo album, "Analog Man," continues that soul-bearing streak. On this CD, Walsh writes and sings about being lost in the tide of technology, about the beauty of a Spanish Dancer, about his love for his family and about how lucky he feels to be Joe Walsh. It's an amazing collection of songs that speak to the listener directly, almost as though you were sitting across from Joe himself. The open honesty is astonishing and utterly refreshing.

Add to openness the typically jaw-dropping fretwork you've come to expect from Joe Walsh and you've got one incredibly entertaining album. From the fat licks of the title track, through a myriad of different styles that still manage to sound like Joe Walsh, the music on "Analog Man" is nothing short of brilliant. There are moments that sound a little James Gang-ish and moments that sound a little Eagles-like but, again, they always sound more like Joe Walsh.

"Analog Man" is easily one of my favorite CDs of 2012, and is the kind of recording that -- if you're new to Joe Walsh -- will turn you into an instant fan.

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Rating Guide:

A classic. This record will kick your ass.

Killer. Not a classic but it will rock your world.

So-so. You've heard better.

Pretty bad. Might make a nice coaster.

Self explanatory. Just the sight of the cover makes you wanna hurl.

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Copyright 2013 by R. Scott Bolton. All rights reserved.
Revised: 27 May 2024 14:00:28 -0400.