Ian Gomm

Rock 'N' Roll Heart

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Those that take titles too literally may say that Ian Gomm's eighth album, Rock 'N' Roll Heart, doesn't rock all that at hard, at least according the traditional, four-on-the-floor definition of the term. They could argue that point, but they'd be wrong, because Gomm does have a rock & roll heart, and it's beating strongly on this winning, understated affair. This is rock & roll in the great pub rock tradition -- laid-back, easy, tuneful, and warm, equally comfortable with a sly joke or a sweet love song. Gomm has assembled a strong set of songs -- mainly sturdy originals, but also with a couple of choice covers, most notably the breezy opening cut, General Johnson's beach music classic, "Gone Fishin'" -- and delivers them simply and appealingly. There are guest appearances by Russell Smith of the Amazing Rhythm Aces and Nanci Griffith (on the lovely "Don't Cry"), but they don't call attention to themselves, they blend nicely with Gomm's mellow, amiable vibe. This might not have the devilish abandon of Brinsley Schwarz at their rocking peak, but anybody who has loved Gomm's work since then will find that their own rock & roll heart is in the same place as his on this very, very nice album.

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