Whatzup
Big Cold World
Roxy Blues Band

by Jason Hoffman Big Cold World
As you might expect from a band that has the word “blues” in their name, Roxy Blues Band don’t go in for all this new-fangled hi-tech way of life. When it was time to record their raw, earthy rock originals, they ditched modern studios and laid down seven of their best songs in their practice space. Forget the auto-tuned vocals and chronically overdubbed guitars - they don’t need such tricks to capture their classic rock sound. The result is the kind of lo-fi, unpolished music that is singularly worthy of the label “rock.”

One of the strongest tracks off their album Big Cold World is “The Love She Makes,” a song which slowly builds, starting with ringing acoustic guitars and ending in a dig of distortion. Throughout the album Emily Akins showcases her strong voice, switching from vulnerable to brash banshee, clearly showing how this band can nail covers by such luminaries as Janis Joplin and Pat Benatar. The sultry “Big Cold World,” especially, has a strong Joplin feel with Akins throwing a truckload of gravel into her voice, undergirded by a meaty bass part compliments of Mike Kennings. Both “Darkness Has Fallen” and “I Gotta Go” have incredible, sizzling guitar solos by Drew Phegley, with the former being a pumping, gritty rock song and the latter a melodic ballad. “Whiskey” takes a page from the muddy Delta blues with tambourines, chugging percussion and drums by Stuart T. McMillion, slide guitar and a grinding, overdriven solo that turns up an already overheated temperature. While the songs already have a live sound to them, “Rough Rider” is recorded live, showing the rhythm section locking in tight and explosively driving this rocker straight out of the speakers. The final track, the thumping “Rockstar,” finds the band yearning for fame with hints of Journey-esque pop in the chorus and a final astounding guitar solo at the close of the song.

By doing things the way they used to be done instead of relying on technology, Roxy Blues Band have focused on the things that matter: the song and the performance. With Big Cold World they have nailed both, delivering seven original songs that are sure to satisfy fans of classic rock. Available at Wooden Nickel stores, Borders and through www.roxybluesband.net.

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