Sammy Hagar / Vic Johnson

Lite Roast

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Sammy tips his hand by calling his acoustic album Lite Roast, the very title suggesting that these low-key renditions of old tunes are designed for smooth consumption at a coffeehouse. And he's not wrong! Strumming a 12-string while accompanied by Wabos guitarist Vic Johnson, Hagar approximates the kind of intimate atmosphere that can be found anywhere there's an open mike. It has to be said the Red Rocker -- who, like Johnson, is clad all in white on the album cover -- knows how to modulate his charm, toning his inherent hamminess down a notch or ten, preferring to slyly slide into a phrase instead of singing to the rafters. If Hagar decided not to load up the record with hits -- "Finish What Ya Started" and "Dreams" are the big ones here, although some may remember "Eagles Fly" -- that just telegraphs how this is one for the dedicated, the ones who know the source of every tune here, the ones who will enjoy how the songs are draped in a cavernous 12-string chime and supported by nimble runs from Johnson.

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