Stone Rider

Three Legs of Trouble

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Seems like it's about that time again, time to rock like it's, oh, about 1975 thanks to nostalgic young bands like Atlanta's Stone Rider and their amusingly titled 2008 debut, Three Legs of Trouble. Along with the likes of Black Stone Cherry, Antler, and Maylene and the Sons of Disaster, to name but a few, Stone Rider is chiefly influenced by the stripped-down classic rock of the '60s and '70s, so is it time to proclaim the existence of a neo-Southern rock "movement"? Probably not, since, despite its frequent revivals through the years (and let's discount the psych-, space-, and metal-infused stoner rock bands), rootsy, Southern-fried, retro-fitted hard rock hasn't actually challenged the mainstream since producing the Black Crowes (and the Four Horsemen, Cry of Love, Raging Slab, Drivin' n' Cryin', etc.) in the early '90s. But Stone Rider would obviously love to give it a shot in the 2000s with their gritty, mostly mid-paced hard rockers like "Rush Hour, Baby," "Juice Man," and "Bite My Tongue," and one only wonders whether these may not be too earnest, stripped-down, and unassuming for their own good, where the "wow me" generation is concerned. Not that Stone Rider's twin-guitar front of Neil Warren and nasally gifted singer Matt Tanner can't shred their fretboards either, (there are repeated six-string heroics to be found throughout), but they never quite show up the songs' arrangements, nor threaten the inherently laid-back vibe that the band has so studiously grafted from the likes of Skynyrd, ZZ Top, and Free. (See the surprisingly civilized cover of Nazareth's normally explosive "Hair of the Dog," for further proof.) So among the CD's highlights, look out for "Ramble Down," which makes good use of the wah-wah pedal and a Hendrix-ian vibe; "Bad Lovin' Never Felt So Good," which pays respects to Bon Scott and AC/DC with its comical double-entendres; and the more energized send-off provided by "Shut My Mouth." Frankly, none of these smells like a breakout hit waiting to happen, but they flesh out a very solid foundation for Stone Rider to build upon in years to come, if they stick with their new stylistic calling.

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