Hot Sound, Great songs : wonderful playing/ vocals abound!!
stephen watkins | denver, co United States | 04/21/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"From the opening salvos of 'Roadrunner,' to the beautiful harmony vocals of 'Dimming of the Day,'this is a solid effort throughout .Not a weak cut to be found;and, Albert's playing is as fiery, bright, soulful,tasteful and potent as ever!Not just for guitarists, but, fans of solid(at times burning 'Honky Tonk,'at others, mournful & bluesy ), and heartfelt country/rock.Highly Recommended!!!"
Lee leans into songs
twangmon | Nashville, TN USA | 05/17/2006
(3 out of 5 stars)
"When Albert Lee cuts loose with his trademark country licks-clucky lines and spanky double-stops that are often drenched with spiraling synchronized echo-notes spill from his fretboard like sawdust blowing from a chainsaw. Several cuts on Road Runner feature Lee's blazing chops, but he generally downplays his legendary hot picking in favor of melodic solos within songs. There are moments of killer guitar playing-the tail end of "(I'm a) Road Runner" is sheer echo-sonic madness, the instrumental "Payola Blues" is packed with wall-to-wall jamming, and "Didn't Start Livin'" is a honky tonk rave-up-but the album's overall focus is less on fretwork and more on songs and Lee's vocals. He doesn't have the soulful pipes of Delbert McClinton or Travis Tritt, but he can carry a tune, and, as with Eric Johnson or Robben Ford, the serviceable singing is simply part of a package that includes fearsome picking. Pedal-steel giant Buddy Emmons adds beautiful, liquid textures throughout the album (he and Lee trade wicked eights in "Working on Love"), and Steve Fishell guests on bluesy lap steel."
Lee's "Road Runners" A Trip Worth Taking
T. Yap | Sydney, NSW, Australia | 04/26/2006
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Prime Cuts: I'll Stop Loving You, Julie's House, Rock of Your Love
Those who have assiduously read the liner notes of CDs would know that the name Albert Lee is ubiquitous. A much sort after guitarist especially among the country music scene, Lee's virtuoso as a guitarist is most evident in the seven-minute instrumental "Payola Blues." A listen to Lee's jaw-dropping speed picking skills is reason why heavyweights such as Patty Loveless, Emmylou Harris, Dolly Parton and Eric Clapton have all enlisted Lee's finger-plucking skills on their respective CDs. Much less lucid in North America at least is that Lee has also been recording his own albums at the side. "Road Runner," his sophomore CD for Rounder Records, finds Lee not only stepping up onto the microphone, but he single handedly takes up the chores as a player of all guitars, mandolin and keyboards. Co-produced by Lee and Steve Fishell, "Road Runner" is virtually a country rock record with some bluesy sensibilities and some occasional nods to 80s pop-country.
Of note is the presence of songs coming from high caliber scribes such as Jimmy Webb, Mike Reid, Delbert McClinton, and Gary Nicholson among others. On John Hiatt's "Rock of Your Love," a powerful manifestation of true love is nicely wrapped around a melody that harkens back to Rodney Crowell late 80s country pop. While the acoustic sounding ballad "Julie's House," finds Lee presenting a montage of past memories between two teenagers, told with an unhurried ease, perfect in nesting this weeper's bittersweet melodies. On the other hand, Mike Reid's bluesy mid-pacer "I'll Stopped Loving You," which first appeared on Reid's sublime "Turning for Home" CD, still has one of the most arresting opening lines: "they say the sun out in the desert is hot to fry your brain."
With covers, comparisons are inevitable and the same can be said of Lee's cover of Jimmy Webb's "The Moon is a Harsh Mistress." After Linda Ronstadt's defining version whereby she grabs her listeners by the heart before letting go and catching them again with her vocal nuances, any other attempt of this classic ballad is at best caricature. Moreover, while bluesy rockers such as the title track and Delbert McClinton's "Living it Down" provide spotlights for Lee's deft finger-picking, they are quite forgettable. Much better is the stone-cold country rendition of Richard Thompson's "Dimming of the Day," where Lee's daughter Alexandra's duet vocals perfectly conjure up the idyllic images inherent in this tune.
While many guitarists tend to place their charm on their own picking prowess, Albert Lee is an all rounder success story. With top class session work, well-chosen tunes coming from an ace-studded cast, and Lee's signature gruff weather-worn vocals, "Road Runner," as a whole is a trip well worth taking."
nicjaytee | London | 06/04/2006
(4 out of 5 stars)
"If you know your country music then you'll know that Albert Lee is one of the finest country guitarists of his generation and the quality of this album will come as no surprise. But if, like me, you're not really into "country" but are intrigued by his long-standing reputation on the UK R&B scene and his stints backing Eric Clapton and Bill Wyman's Rhythm Kings, then prepare yourself for a hugely pleasant surprise... for "Road Runner" will open your eyes to how good country-rock can be.
Featuring layers of gorgeous slide, finger-picking & deeply "twangy" lead guitarwork, super-tight backings and excellent, understated vocals the beauty and excitement of country music - so often ruined by crass lyrics and simplistic tunes - shines through the set. Opening with a brilliant interpretation of Junior Walker's Motown classic that's so effective you could almost believe that Holland-Dozier-Holland were actually down-home Nashville boys, it rolls along like a southern steam train culminating in "Payola Blues", a breath-taking seven minute "duelling guitars" work-out that rocks from beginning to end.
Country fan or not, the infectious drive, catchy tunes and outstanding musicianship of what's on offer here will irresistibly suck you into it all because, in the end, it's just so good. "
Another Great Album by Albert Lee
James P. Jones | Florida | 06/02/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"What can I say? I have them all and this one is great. For those of us who play guitar, the tones on this album are gorgeous. Great material, beautiful guitar playing, and the debut of his daughter Alexandra, who has a beautiful voice, singing the last cut, Dimming of the Day. I love Road Runner, Rock of your Love, and Dimming of the Day. They should promote Dimming of the Day as a single along with Road Runner. I'd like to see Albert get a hit on the country charts then he'd get more recognition he deserves and we'd see more of him on TV.
Albert has been picking up great the pace and putting out more recently, both with Hogan's Heroes and on his own, than he did in the past and I, for one, am very happy about that."