Once again, Bret Michaels repurposes his past for the purpose of a new album, sifting through his new millennial recordings in search of collaborations, adding a handful of new tracks to the mix and winding up with 2013's Jammin' with Friends. This time around, the title does explain it all: every one of the 20 cuts finds Michaels fooling around with one or more pals, ranging from old running mate C.C. DeVille and Sugar Ray frontman Mark McGrath to country legend Loretta Lynn and pop superstar Miley Cyrus. That duet with Miley dates from 2010, recorded not long after the peak of Michaels' reality TV stardom, as does much of the rest of this record. The new stuff is as follows: a cover of "Sweet Home Alabama" with Lynyrd Skynyrd in tow (lyric change: no longer is "the governor true," but the girls are), a live version of "Margaritaville" recorded with Jimmy Buffett in Detroit (where the Parrotheads chant "salt salt salt" throughout the chorus), the Lynn duet on "Every Rose Has Its Thorn" and, best off all, "The App Song," where Bret mashes up every social media catch phrase then growls his discontent in a lazy, loping country-rock novelty. It's fun, as are other songs scattered along here, and it's all pleasant enough, but the recycling is a problem, and if you're a dedicated fan of Michaels at all, you'll have most of this record, maybe more than once, and will be irritated to purchase much of it all over again (and that's not even counting how "Nothin' But a Good Time" and "Every Rose Has Its Thorn" are both here in two different re-recordings). Nevertheless, any fairweather fan coming to this cold will find some fun to be had among the mess.
Share this page
AllMusic Review by Stephen Thomas Erlewine
feat: Coral Reefer Band