Joe Rohan
"Walk Along"

(Off the Map Music 2003)Joe Rohan - Walk Along

You can often tell a musician by his lyrics. Real country and blues songs do not have the same topics as rap songs and vice versa. It is on that basis that when Joe Rohan sings "like whiskey on my lips, sweet burn, sweet bliss" in "Desert Love," you understand. And it becomes crystal clear that his album, "Walk Along," is a mix of country, blues and rock 'n' roll all from the soul.

Rohan begins his album with a classic country and blues sounds. "Walk Along," the slow but serious tune is understated with straightforward vocals and instrumentation. With some banjo thrown into the mix, "Time" has a poppier sound with its upbeat and "soaring" chorus. "Desert Love," a mid tempo love ballad, uses a sweeping falsetto hook on the chorus while the slower, finger-picking guitar of "Finally Comes Around" is soft and pleasant as is the equally minimalist "Pelican Dance."

Returning to the mood of "Walk Along," "Roll and Burn" puts the attention strictly on Rohan as his vocals act as the focus point, more so than on prior tracks. Changing to a more upbeat and up tempo sound, "One More" is a fine tuned country pop song while the slow and melodic "Counting Flies" grabs attention with its charm. Interestingly, Rohan changes his style on "Horses," an engaging song with its plinking piano. Rohan throws another traditional sound in with the instrumental "Cactus Waltz" before the album closes with "Walk Along (Reprise)" and "Hannah Sleeps," a melodic and "emotional" hidden instrumental track.

From this collection of songs, Rohan obviously knows what sounds good and for him that is simplicity. Instead of adding layers of instruments, the heart of all the songs is Rohan's voice and his guitar in the true idea of country and blues. "Walk Along" is sometimes melodic and something serious but it is always endearing.

B+

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