Robert Jon and The Wreck take the Southern rock sound from the east coast and make it international. Since their inception in 2011, these native Californians; Robert Jon Burrison (lead vocals, guitar), Andrew Espantman (drums, background vocals), Henry James Schneekluth (lead guitar, background vocals), and Warren Murrel (bass), have been electrifying audiences all over the world with their soaring guitar leads, rich vocal harmonies, and memorable tunes. Recently, keyboardist Jake Abernathie joined the band as an official member as they continued to tour and record in the studio.

8 tracks make up their 2023 album, “Ride Into the Light,” release date August 4th.

“Pain No More” was a single release, and there is an entertaining video for it that the band put out. It has a distinctly American feel to it, it’s airwave friendly, and you could see it getting plenty of radio play from anyone into the whole bluesy rock vibe. It gets the album off to a fine start.

“Who Can You Love?” was also released as a single, and Lorraine reviewed it for us here a couple of months ago. She said about it that it has a slightly bluesy feel, holds a melody, and has a catchy beat to it, a generally “feel good” song that you can listen to next to a log fire and with a late night hot chocolate. It is relaxing in the way of The Eagles (not a bad thing at all), and you can feel the confidence musically and lyrically that is present when the band is clearly enjoying themselves. 

I can’t argue with that! It is a smooth sounding piece that is easy to drive along to!

Picture by Rob Bondurant

“Come At Me” hits us with a great drum led boogie. It is a big chorus song, and I would imagine this is absolutely made for the live stage. I liked it a lot; it slips into the groove, dips, and lifts the sound effectively as required. Left me with a desire to thump my fist in the air!

“One of a Kind” shows these boys can play guitar and has some great riffs. It is a road song, and the chorus again showcases a kickass chorus. For fans of Lynyrd Skynyrd.

“Bring Me Back Home Again”  “We had the pleasure of writing this song with our good friend and frequent co-writer, Ian Cullen,” shares frontman Robert Jon Burrison. “The song touches on feelings of longing and isolation while being away from your loved ones, something we are all familiar with as we go on tour throughout the year.” This one is a standout on the album, it was released as a single, and reviewed here by me earlier in the year. It gives us great vocal harmony with that smooth southern sound, a thumping good drum sound; and some pleasing guitar breaks. I would say it is a statement as to where Robert Jon and the Wreck are now, the production is sharp, and the sound has a modern commercial groove. The chorus hooks blend nicely, and you are left humming the tune. It should do really well, we hope,and be a part of the live set when the band heads to the UK in September 

“West Coast Eyes” is a more dreamy number. I liked the lyrics a lot; it was romantic in the right places and it was a relaxing listen.

“Don’t Look Down” takes things up a notch as we get out the leathers again and rock along. “Don’t Look Down” the chorus goes, get your head up high and enjoy life and music. The guitars hit that slide and drive along a fine riff. Mention the drums too, Andrew Espantman is a fine drummer, I like his style and instinctive beat that underpins song after song here.

“Ride Into the Light” closes things with a gentle touch. I noticed the keyboards here, and they help with the melody for this track, in which I do truly leave my worries at the door and enjoy the musical trip.

Okay, the overview! This is a fine blues rock band. They deliver a mix of thumping sing-along choruses, some great guitar riffs, and melodies that you drift away to. Whether live, or just relaxing on the sofa with the headphones on, it’s terrific listening.

Standout tracks: “Who Can You Love?” “Come at Me” and “Bring Me Back Home Again.”

By Stevie Ritson

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