Sons of Liberty are steeped and Aged In Oak

The Sons of Liberty was a secret organization, created in the American Colonies to advance the rights of colonists and to fight taxation by the British government. Err, no that’s not them…nor is this the Jon Schaffer (he of Iced Earth fame) fronted band of that name. This fine collection of reprobates is Sons Of Liberty UK. (Use the UK tag at the end when searching to make it easier). If you haven’t come across them gigging around the country, they are a group of guys from Bristol and South Wales who were drawn together by a shared love of Southern Rock. Apparently, it all started during a trip to buy a used guitar…. Andy Muse and Fred Hale were listening to southern rock music on the way and decided that they could and should take the music to the people of the UK as they felt that their genre was underserved by British musicians. The two guitarists sought out and recruited former Gillan man, Mick Underwood’s Glory Road vocalist Rob Cooksley. The rhythm section of drummer Steve Byrne and bassist Mark Thomas were soon on board too. All of that happened in 2014 and they’ve been touring to great acclaim ever since. A debut EP (Shinola) was released earlier this year and now their latest venture is also available. The six-track EP has the very whisky (or I guess in this context that should be Whiskey) soaked title to match the music…Aged In Oak.  My immediate thought was that Ted Nugent and Blackfoot (Ken Hensley era) had got together to party…this is a real feel-good Southern Rock without the Lyn-Skyn comparisons.

Opening with a statement of intent, If It Ain’t Southern, does rock and fits all the tropes without the clichés… well, apart from some crowd-joiny-in ‘whoas’. The harp is used to limited but very great effect. Damned If You Do is a great entry into this genre with its slower, more thoughtful approach. The bass is superb and the vocals more restrained with a tasty guitar solo to round it all off. Dixie Whiskey starts with a well-judged drum pattern before the riff kicks in. Then we are back in the South, but with a more straightforward rock approach as the guitar punctuates each line with some inventive licks. The chorus is great with a (if you can imagine this), the Beatles but with vocals by Airbourne and Nugent on rhythm. My Sister my favourite with the slow slide and a ballad-like approach. The structure is the most thoughtful and twin guitars put power behind it all…topped off with a too short slide solo. Think of Blackfoot again, but married to Wishbone Ash to conjure up a very good song. That’s Who I Am has an almost funky American Indian feel to the backbeat and some more great slide with the solo showing that there are more to solos than the top strings and frets. There is also a subtle and effective harp in the central section. The final track, Moving On, wraps up in a Thin Lizzy twin guitar intro and then heavies up with a brilliant riff over drum rolls and thudding bass.

This EP really shows a band with huge potential: there isn’t a duff one here and, mercifully, they have managed to be Southern without just cloning any of the established bands or their sounds. It will be interesting to see if they can sustain this high level when they get around to making a full-length album. I bet they are even better live because they know how to rock and they can certainly play.

EIGHTpawprint half inchdoodle paws out of TEN …

Tracklisting:

  1. If It Ain’t Southern
  2. Damned If You Do
  3. Dixie Whiskey
  4. My Sister
  5. That’s Who I Am
  6. Moving On

 

Musicians:
Andy Muse: Guitars/Vocals
Rob Cooksley: Vocals/Harp
Fred Hale: Guitar
Mark Thomas: Bass/Vocals
Steve Byrne: Drums

 

Sons of Liberty are steeped and Aged In Oak

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