Red Arrow don’t like to be pigeonholed in terms of the genre of music they play, so I’m not going to do so. But I’m also not going to resort to laying an unhelpful, it-could-be-anything kind of label like “Americana” or “roots rock” on them, either. If you must call this band from Albion something, call them “classic rock,” which seems like a weird thing to call new music played by young guys, or “Southern rock,” which seems like a weird thing to call a band that lives a few dozen miles south of Michigan.
The thing is, those last two labels fit the four songs written and played by Riley Demaree and his band on this new EP fairly well. Although the songs might not sound exactly like Lynyrd Skynyrd or the Allman Brothers Band – the songs here stick closer to the straight-ahead rock verse-chorus-guitar-solo model than to the extended blues-rock jam formula – there’s no mistaking the band’s influences.
The tried-and-true wanderlust song is here in the guise of “Take Off and Run,” so hopefully that means Red Arrow won’t have to cover “Free Bird” or “Ramblin’ Man” in the future. “Gamblin’ Jack” carries on the tradition of eccentric-character songs, and it also tacks on a little bit of a swamp-rock edge.
The other two songs on the EP, “Living By Our Hearts” and “The Door,” are more personal. Here a young man grapples with the confusing concepts of chance, fate and freewill, all of it complicated by youthful restlessness and a need to chase dreams. It’s the prototypical stuff of rock songs, really, and that makes this EP, in some sense, classic, even if it’s freshly minted and played by guys who were born decades after “Sweet Home Alabama” hit the charts.
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