Article first published as Music Review: Richie Sambora – Aftermath of the Lowdown
Richie Sambora has been a busy boy recently. The latest Bon Jovi album is due for release at the very beginning of March, and will quickly be followed by one of those massive stadium world tours the band is accustomed to.
But in the second half of 2012, the famous guitarist also released a new solo album, entitled Aftermath of the Lowdown. A third record, after Stranger In This Town (1991) and Undiscovered Soul (1998), that saw Sambora signing with an independent label, Dangerbird, for the first time in his career. This obviously allowed him the artistic freedom he needed for this very personal album, co-produced by long time friend Luke Ebbin. Ebbin also co-wrote and composed most songs with Sambora.
Aftermath of the Lowdown starts to great fanfare with “Burn that Candle down”. Wow. The opening solo immediately gets your attention; in fact these riffs could even be described as a slap in the face, but in a good way. How much Sambora and his musicians are enjoying themselves totally comes across, and this unexpected song wets your appetite for what comes next.
And what comes next is “Every Road Leads Home To You”, the first single released. This one is more of a mainstream song, talking about going home to your family. In Sambora’s case, this would mean to his beloved teenage daughter, Ava. The last song he wrote on Aftermath was also dedicated to her, “I’ll Always Walk Beside You”. It was inspired by a photo he gave her many years ago, on which he had scribbled these words.
Aftermath Of The Lowdown alternates between punchy, energetic pieces and emotional ones. Out of the eleven songs, “You Can Only Get So High” and “Seven Years Gone” seem to be the most introspective. Not easy to talk about your addictions and what you have to face once the euphoria disappears. Or about not being “present” in your life, perhaps a way to protect yourself because what you are going through is so painful, and then realising one day that seven years have gone by. But even in this poignant song, Sambora decided to leave at the end one of these extended jams present throughout the album. Again, this is unexpected and gives “Seven Years Gone” an extra quick.
When asked by Rolling Stone why he chose the title for the new record, Sambora replied: “The reason I called it Aftermath of the Lowdown is because when you give somebody the lowdown, that’s the truth. And when you tell somebody the truth, there’s an aftermath to it. So the songs are the aftermath of my particular story, of my life experience over the past decade.”
If you are in the mood for a classic American rock album full of honesty, then Aftermath Of The Lowdown is for you.
A last thought? How about: Let’s hope it will not take Richie Sambora another decade before he surprises us again with his next solo album.