September 25, 2018 Rod Stewart – Blood Red Roses (Album Review)
Known for his distinctive raspy singing voice, the UK’s Rod Stewart is one of the best-selling artists of all-time. Transcending five decades, in the US only, Stewart has had 16 top ten singles, with 4 reaching #1 on the Billboard Hot 100. Additionally, he has maintained one of the more diverse careers in music – dabbling in various genres, with success in Pop, Disco, traditional standards, Jazz, and of course where his roots lay, Rock-n-Roll.
Good old Rock-n-Roll, no question always where Stewart’s heart and soul remains, his early days with The Jeff Beck Group and Faces would pave the way. Speaking of which, Stewart has continued to honor his love for Rock-n-Roll music into the latter part of his career, as heard on his 2013’s album Time, and most recently with his brand new album Blood Red Roses, due out Friday, September 28, 2018 via Republic Records.
Amazingly enough Stewart’s 30th solo studio album, Blood Red Roses comes 3 years after his lighter Rock, but no less quality offering, Another Country. A singer-songwriter who continues to find inspiration in the Rock music, Stewart has reached the point in his career where current trends are irrelevant and he comfortably engages in what moves him. With Blood Red Roses, Stewart, along with Co-Producer Kevin Savigar, has put together a 13-track album, 16-tracks for the deluxe edition, which is true to who he is as a person and a composer at this stage in his life.
A milestone within itself to reach a gaudy 30th LP, Stewart once again lays his heart on the line, gifting fans a personal, self-reflective listening experience. Now 73 years of age, Stewart digs deep into his soul with a list of storytelling tunes such as the more Pop Rock “Farewell,” Folk Rock “Honey Gold,” and Soft Rock ballad “Julia.” All painting pictures with words, Stewart’s voice remains as uniquely his own as ever, and impressively, without showing signs of age.
Just only a few examples of the diversity Blood Red Roses has in store, there are also moments where you will want to get up and move to the groove or simply just rock out. In fact, Stewart opens the album on an upbeat note with “Hole In My Heart,” a tune with a touch of gritty guitar, powerful horns, and irresistible Pop beat. Then he dishes out others such “Give Me Love,” a vital retro style Dance Pop track with all the funk needed to still light up modern dance floors. But that is not all, Stewart even goes heavy, as heard on the dirty Blues Rock song “Rollin’ & Tumblin'” and the soulful “Vegas Shuffle,” both in need of being new additions to his live sets.
With absolutely not a dull moment throughout, Stewart honors who he is as a singer and a songwriter, approaching each song with an energy that continuously hooks you in. Proud of his Scottish and English ancestry, he even dabbles in Celtic instrumentation, as heard of upbeat hybrid title-track and more acoustic-based, ambient new single “Grace” – both recorded magically without reservation. Yet, there is still so much more to talk about when it comes to this well-composed new album. That all in mind, perhaps the most commercial accessible moments are found on songs such as “Look In Her Eyes” and the lead single “Didn’t I,” which finds Stewart scoring his 23rd Top 10 hit on the AC chart.
There is just no end to the spectrum of musical colors Sir Rod Stewart utilized on Blood Red Roses. It is modern, yet old fashion. It is also the product of a man who has had a lifetime of experience and comfortable enough to share it with the world. At this conjunction in his career, the best part about Stewart’s music is it does not feels insincere or contrived just to cash in on the legacy of his name. He is composing music because he loves it, and it certainly shows throughout Blood Red Roses. That is why CrypticRock gives this album 4.5 out of 5 stars.