ROCK n ROLL HEART
Fascinating and World Weary Stories and Songs.
I’m not sure if it was the eye catching artwork or discovering that Lazarus is his real name that attracted me to this CD; but history will prove that the fates got it right.
After trawling the back-roads and dives that litter America Lazarus Nichols has finally got around to actually recording and releasing his debut album of mostly self-penned songs; proving that there’s hope for every musician out there.
The simple opening track Rise; an almost Quasi-Religious song that turns the bible story about Lazarus into a harsh tale of a working man of the same name is really impressive; introducing us as it does to Nicholls’ way with words and his extraordinary voice, which sits somewhere between Tom’s Russell and Waits.
The songs here criss-cross Modern American Folk, Alt. Country and Tex-Mex with such ease you don’t know where one starts and one ends.
Promise Not To Tell is one of those gorgeously evocative stories that littered Tom Russell’s early albums and the occasional flourishes of Mexicana in the background add an extra ‘something’ that makes this song stand out from the crowd.
Nichols has really grasped the opportunities offered to him in the recording studio; adding extra layers of violin to the chunky guitar on the beautifully mournful Shit and Shame; and then on Gonna Be Okay it sounds like a whole New Orleans Jazz Band are sitting in on the session as Lazarus tips his hat towards the good Dr. John via Leon Russell.
But it’s the simpler folkie songs where Lazarus really shines; with Loathsome Shadow and Making Good Time sounding as good as anything I’ve heard in recent years from some big, big names in the Americana world.
The only cover song here is a fascinating choice; Bob Marley’s Small Axe (a favourite of Noel Gallagher from Oasis) which Lazarus turns into a luscious slice of cool West Coast Country.
Then there is the title track Rock n Roll Heart; my favourite song on the album, which is exactly ‘what it says on the tin’ but done in an Alt. Country stylee…..and just begs to be heard on the radio or perhaps one of those TV Detective shows with a cool soundtrack.
Who knows why some people with average talent find fame in this world; and why others like Lazarus Nichols live their lives in the shadows barely eking out a living; let’s right that wrong and give Lazarus his time in the spotlight that he so surely deserves.
Released May 26th 2017