Monster guitarist, lead vocalist and professional recording artist from Monterey, California – Ron Wright gives rock fans a huge wallop of the good stuff on his new project “Ron Wright & Special Guests”, rooted in the free-spirited vibe of classic rock and heavily influenced by the blues. The 18-song collection features legendary musicians and artists including Bobby Kimball – TOTO, Valerie Carter – Michael Jackson, Davey Pattison – Robin Trower, Janet Planet – Van Morrison, Richard Bryant – Little River Band, Tiran Porter – Doobie Brothers and Chris Minto who engineered for KISS. The end result of all this, is a melting pot of an album that blends the musicians’ backgrounds, talents, and legacies, and into a blast of modern rock music that’s unique and unforgettable.
Upcoming singer Marcello Vieria aside, everyone else here are veterans of the world’s largest stages and recording studios, and as such, deeply respect each other’s abilities, making make up a perfect storm of talent, chops, experience, and musical vision. From the first notes of the record’s opening cut “Diamond Earring” it’s clear that this is going to be a set of outstanding rock music.
Ron Wright puts down mighty riffs with bigger-than-life tones which switch on newcomer Vieria’s lead vocal parts. The groove and chemistry are so strong that you can’t help but be quickly swept up in the proceedings. It’s not often that we’re treated to the sound of immense talents like these working together so smoothly but that’s exactly what the second track, “Star Baby”, featuring Bobby Kimball is all about.
Factor in their shared devotion to a baseline of true rock and roll and you get amazing music that’s organic and motivating throughout “Ron Wright & Special Guests”. Moving forward, the highlights abound. “Digital Highway” is a rocking-yet-singable song with Wright on a six-string run, and a big time radio chorus. All the tight riffing and hot lead work only serve to make a great song even better.
The excellence, with Bobby Kimball on the vocals, continue on the bone-crushing “Pilgrim and the Preacher”, and finds its apex in the slow burning blues tones of “Fast Woman’s Lovin”, where Ron Wright’s guitar move between a jangle and a scream. The instrumental and vocal flames burn bright through “Join Us”, “Lost Lovers”, and “I’m Always in Trouble”, a swampy electric blues jam, which Wright takes care of all by himself.
“Black Hole” and “Cloud Jumper” present more killer songs that’ll grab you by the scruff and not let go. Ron Wright’s guitar and songwriting talents are hot to the point of face-melting on “Stone Mountain”. It’s an electrifying cut that demands repeated listening. “Lucky Charm” is a muted chugging mid-tempo groove that builds slowly, before leading to the guitar twang of “Panhandle Blues”.
Ron Wright’s guitar refuses to let up as it drives us through classic rock n’ roll heaven on “Zombie Land”, “Talk” and “Things That Made Me Happy”. “Flight of the Bumblebee”, a popular orchestral interlude originally written by Nikolai Rimsky Korsakov in the 1900’s, showcases Wright’s excitable acoustic guitar work.
The album closes down with the epic and emotive acoustic-driven ballad “You Need a Dream”. Both melodically and harmonically this is a brilliant composition that will sweep your senses away. Like everything presented here, it’s exceptionally well-written, played, and vocalized.
Despite everything being well thought-out and executed, nothing on “Ron Wright & Special Guests” sounds forced or over-analyzed, and the risk of one artist competing with the other for the listener’s attention is quickly dismissed. In a world where records sound like they came from a production line, rather than from the hands of an artist, this is a welcome change of pace.
It’s a rare occasion when musicians of such caliber join forces and deliver such a promising album. Sparks frequently fly as Ron Wright delivers memorable guitar riffs, licks and solos, spurring his special guests on, to elevate these songs to the highest level.
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