THE NATIVES ARE RESTLESS
Released on March 12, 2021 (HighVolMusic)
Now here’s a strange one – with the exception of vocalist Ashton Blake, none of the current incarnation of US band Native Sons named above actually play on this album! Originally recorded two years prior with a different set of musicians, the record company has taken the unusual and rather confusing step of releasing the album anyway, presumably to keep us reviewers on our toes as much as anything else.
With that cleared up, “Silver Lining” opens proceedings with a fine guitar intro from whoever it is, that spurs on a pleasant, southern rock styled driving rocker complimented by fine vocals from Blake. “Had Enough Of Me” is by contrast a rather lengthy, if a little bland, track that, once again, features a finely played guitar solo and sterling work from whoever the rhythm section were at the time of recording!
“Here & Now” has a very Asphalt Valentine feel to it which is of course not a particularly bad point if they are your thing. “Monster” is up next and has a real sleazy blues atmosphere, which I found to be my favourite track so far. Ashton Blake varies his style from the David Coverdale blues style of the previous tracks and it suits him better in my opinion. Having said that, “Master of My Fate” is then a rather overblown, pompous affair that didn’t hold my attention, despite fine playing and yet another fine vocal performance.
“Full Circle” is once again finely played and sung, but is another fairly standard fare, blues by numbers track with the by now requisite guitar solo. By contrast, “Crazy Enough” has bags of swagger and a real early Black Crowes tinge to it that elevates it way above the previous couple of tracks. Acoustic ballad “One Another” follows and of course has that Extreme type atmosphere that has plagued most other attempts since that song. This one is a pretty and plaintive track that I found myself liking more than expected. “Peacemaker” is in similar vein but ups the tempo ever so slightly. Both of these benefit from heartfelt vocals from Blake, as does album closer and current single “The Key” which will no doubt find its way onto many radio playlists in the near future and probably rightly so.
As I said before, it’s a strange one to judge. I can’t comment on the playing because none of the current band did any of it, but whoever they actually were did do an excellent job. It’s Ashton Blake’s album though, and he really does have a fine AOR voice that gives the mostly run-of-the-mill, standard Southern Blues fare, an extra coat of quality alongside the crystal clear overall production. To be perfectly frank — and with the exception of a couple of tracks — I found it rather bland and forgettable but if you do like well produced, Southern-styled AOR with well-suited, classy vocals, then you could do an awful lot worse than check this out. It will certainly be interesting to hear their next release with an almost completely different line-up.
01. Silver Lining
02. Had Enough of Me
03. Here & Now
05. Master of My Fate
06. Full Circle
07. Crazy Enough
08. One Another
10. The Key
Ashton Blake – vocals
Diego Grimaldi – guitars
Kevin ‘7’ Amici – bass
Adam Amici – drums
Reviewed by Rockney Colin for Sleaze Roxx, April 2021
Native Sons‘ “The Key” lyric video: