Released on April 12, 2019 (Stradlin’ Rosie)
Before Stradlin’ Rosie‘s debut self-titled EP, I knew only one thing about the band. The new Kickin Valentina singer (Brian Bezotte), that was announced in August 2018, was coming from the Wisconsin based group Stradlin’ Rosie. For whatever reason and likely due to the band’s name, I thought that Stradlin’ Rosie was a Guns N’ Roses tribute band. Interestingly enough, Bezotte‘s time in Kickin Valentina ended up being a short one and I am for one, am very happy about that. Why you may ask? Well, there’s a good chance that Stradlin’ Rosie would not have delivered their self-titled EP if Bezotte was still in Kickin Valentina.
How good is Stradlin’ Rosie‘s debut self-titled EP? Well, how about it’s fantastic! Funny enough, I usually like my “sleaze rock” music played at a faster pace than what can be found on Stradlin’ Rosie‘s five-song offering but the band’s bluesy delivery is so good that I can’t help but like every song. The opening track “Saints ‘N’ Sinners” starts off strong with an intriguing guitar riff followed by some bass lines and then it’s just a matter of what the vocals will sound like. Bezotte delivers in spades with his raspy yet clear voice. It’s been a while since I can say “guitar hero” but Robert “Blackie” Bishop‘s guitar solo on “Saints ‘N’ Sinners” is a thing of beauty and especially during the second half when he really kicks things into high gear. It’s memorable like a classic George Lynch guitar solo rather than over the top like an Yngwie Malmsteen one. There is a great groove on all the songs, which reminds me a bit of Badlands not in sound, but in swagger and attitude mixed in with some bluesy elements. “Hell On Wheels” continues in the same vein as “Saints ‘N’ Sinners” with another mesmerizing but rather short guitar solo from Bishop.
Although things slow down quite a bit for the rest of the EP, the songs are still really good. “How Do Ya” has a cool vibe to it and reminds me a little bit of Steel Dragon‘s “We All Die Young” with its pace and feel. I just love Bezotte‘s vocals from his softly spoken verses to when he screams his vocals out. Once again, the guitar solo by Bishop is another thing of beauty. “So This Is Love” is not a Van Halen cover but the song is so good and infectious with the guitar riff that it’s based on that it will have you forget Van Halen in a heartbeat. Bezotte‘s vocals are interesting on this one since he appears to be talking for most of the track. Nevertheless, it works quite well. Yet again, Bishop delivers another tasty guitar solo and the man is four for four in terms of great guitar solos on the first four tracks. Stradlin’ Rosie end their EP on a rather surprising slower note with “Rush” which reminds me a bit of Tesla with its acoustic start.
Overall, Stradlin’ Rosie have delivered a very good debut EP and one that I will definitely be playing for the rest of the year and beyond. The album has a real mature feel to it and is easily one of my favourite records of the year so far. While I am surprised at how good Stradlin’ Rosie‘s debut self-titled EP is, I now understand why Kickin Valentina chose Bezotte to permanently replace Joe Edwards last year. The fact that things didn’t work out between Kickin Valentina and Bezotte has turned out to be a win-win for everybody involved. We probably wouldn’t have Stradlin’ Rosie‘s debut EP if Bezotte was still in Kickin Valentina while the latter was able to find what seems to be a better fit with former Jetboy lead vocalist D.K. Revelle. Pick up Stradlin’ Rosie‘s debut self-titled EP. Trust me. You won’t regret it.
01. Saints ‘N’ Sinners
02. Hell On Wheels
03. How Do Ya
04. So This Is Love
Brian “B.B.” Bezotte – vocals
Robert “Blackie” Bishop – guitars
Cadillac Eddie – bass
Benjamin Sin – drums
Recorded by Eric Labrosse
Mastered by Justin Perkins
Reviewed by Olivier for Sleaze Roxx, May 2019
Stradlin’ Rosie‘s EP teaser:
Uploaded by Brian Bezotte on 2019-04-11.