LONESOME DAVE FISHER - ROCKABILLY ROUTE ONE
Rockabilly Route One Lonesome Dave Fisher
Released on CD from Fish-Tone Records 18/02/2022
Reviewed 12/03/2022 by Brandon Anderson (www.rockabillyrarities.com)
Rockabilly Route One is the third full length album from the red dirt rockabilly ripper from Austin, Texas “Lonesome” Dave Fisher. It features twelve tracks (ten originals and two covers) of good old-fashioned rock and roll. “Lonesome” Dave once again proves why he is one of our top modern American artists, blending new and old without the “cosplay” element that seems ever-present in the Americana realm, and he does it all with a little Texas attitude and fun!
Recording the album was truly a global effort, split between Jet-Tone Studios in Revere, MA, Arcadia Studios in Portland, ME, Camera Jams in Arvada, CO, and Western Star Recording Studios in Paulton, UK. Engineered by Shaun Young and mastered by Spike Katz at Mobile Mic Studios in Providence, RI. UK sessions engineered, mastered, and produced by Alan Wilson.
Dave is at the helm of things, Laying down vocals and lead guitar with Spike Katz on bass/vocals, Mark Kemlo - drums, Sammy Mann - drums, Sean Mencher - guitar, Neil Roope - bass, Joe Shaffer - Bass, Shaun Young - drums/guitar/vocals.
“Hill Country Special” If twang is your thing, then Dave and the boys are going to have you roped in right off the bat with this rollicking guitar instrumental. This is the kind of stuff we love to listen to with no over the top melodies, no crazy guitar solos, just plucky pickin’ and a booming bass-line. We also hear a hint of Django Reinhardt in Mr. Fisher’s playing on this track which really shows his musical chops and appreciation of pure guitar badassery!
“I’m Blue, I’m Lonesome” is a fantastic rework of Bill Monroe’s bluegrass classic, given an electric cure that brings it into the rock and roll realm. Dave’s crisp vocals and honky tonk style guitar licks keep things chugging along just like the train he is singing about.
“Act Your Age” is a great radio-friendly track that showcases the precision playing of Dave and his bandmates, as well as the top-notch production work that is present throughout Rockabilly Route One. Crisp guitar tones ride perfectly on the back of the rhythm provided by the band.
“Sweet Medicine” is where southern rock meets garage rock, creating a vibe similar to The Searchers’ cover of the 50s classic “Love Potion No. 9” (originally recorded by rhythm and blues quartet The Clovers), but still maintaining Dave’s signature smoked Texas sound. The main guitar riff in this song is one of the standout elements without a doubt, bouncing up and down off of booming drums, and creating a creeping slinky vibe.
“Way Back When” is a great look back on life from an “every man’s” perspective of things that shows we can still have the good times of “Way Back When” without the heavy baggage associated with history. We can all dance, play music, respect each other, and have great times together. We agree and we love it!
“House of Love” is a good old-fashioned country and western love song. Dave and his band give country legends like Buck Owens and his Buckaroos, Lefty Frizzell, and the like a run for their money. Dave and company have created a track that would have provided some stiff competition in that 1960s Bakersfield/Texas crossover sound that was burning up the radio waves. Unless our ears our fooling us this song may have even been engineered with this sound in mind creating a final recording that compliments the song’s classic style perfectly.
“Big Big Boy” Call us crazy but this song just further proves to us that “Lonesome” Dave could have definitely had a ripping radio career in the 60s or possibly later on with Radio X alongside people like The Blasters, The Jinns/BopStreet, and other bands that popped up in the rockabilly revival explosion of the 1980s. “Big Big Boy” has all of the elements of a rock and roll ripper; great rhythm, minimal but tasteful lead guitar, a heavy slapping bass-line, and chunky relentless drumming. Throw Dave’s clear and clean vocals on top and you have a winner.
“Firetiger” switches things up, showcasing more of “Lonesome” Dave’s appreciation for crossover acts of the 1960s and creating a vibe almost similar to The Troggs but way less clean-cut and corny, and way more edgy and Texas. We love the semi-sleazy camp vibes, seriously, this thing is primed for a John Waters’ film soundtrack!
“Brand New Shade of Cool” is the first single off of Rockabilly Route One and in our opinion, it is the standout track of the album featuring impeccable playing by all involved as well as what we feel is one of Dave Fisher’s best vocal performances of the lot. The production is also top-notch which just add to the shades of cool that are undeniably inherent in this oh so cool song.
“Cherokee Bluff” brings back that classic country and western vibe we love, with a great boom-chicka Johnny Cash style rhythm that you just cannot deny. Dave does a wonderful job of telling the story of “Cherokee Bluff”, the place where fiddlers go to disappear despite the wishes of their dear old mamas (Just ask Tommy, he messed around and look what happened!). The guitar and bass are both fantastic on this track, and this may be our pick for best song on Rockabilly Route One.
“Better Do It Now” is a great song with a great message. Do not sit around waiting, just get out and make it happen! Dave delivers another great vocal performance accompanied by more fantastic guitar licks and the ever-tight playing of his bandmates. This one would make a great B-side if there is another single in the works!
“Happy Go Lucky” is a cover of a burgeoning cult classic made popular by retired mailman and Austin, TX campfire guitar legend “Mailman” Bob Kronnagel. “Happy Go Lucky” is basically Bob’s rework of the Big Joe Turner classic “Feelin’ Happy” and Dave Fisher does Bob and Joe both a solid with a fantastic rendition of their collaborative efforts, creating a twangy and fast-paced alternative that puts a modern rock and roll flavored twist on things making for the perfect album ender.
We first familiarized ourselves with the stylings of “Lonesome” Dave Fisher during his period in Colorado and have followed him ever since. We recommend this latest album, Rockabilly Route One, as well as the rest of Dave’s back catalogue available at all major platforms which you can connect to through his website www.lonesomedavefisher.com