"Under the Influence"

By Dark Starr

Beyond everything else, Foghat were always one of the wave of bands that landed somewhere in the blues rock arena. I suppose the closest comparisons to their sound were (and still are) Savoy Brown and Peter Green’s version of Fleetwood Mac. This new album really cements that sound. There’s nothing here that’s going to shatter any illusions. Instead, what we’ve got is a very entertaining disc of Foghat styled blues and blues rock. It’s a diverse and solid set of music, really. 

The core line-up of Foghat these days is Bryan Bassett (guitar and backing vocals), Roger Earl (drums and backing vocals), Charlie Huhn (lead guitar and lead vocals) and Craig MacGregor (bass). They are joined by a number of guests in the persons of Kim Simmons (of Savoy Brown fame), Scott Holt, Nick Jameson, Dana Fuchs, Rodney O’Quinn and Tom Hambridge. 

They lead off with the title track. This comes in with a killer hard rocking guitar riff. There is a lot of great blues based rock and roll on this thing. I love the guitar fills. The whole tune just grooves really well. There are some old school music name checks in this number. This even screams out toward heavy metal at the end. 
Speaking of heavy metal, "Knock It Off" could just about pass for that style. It’s a bit like AC/DC and Krokus to me. It especially makes me think of the Bon Scott era of AC/DC. It’s a screaming hot hard rocker that’s classic. 
With some killer slide guitar, " Ghost" is very much an electric blues tune. Sure, it’s got the blue rock vibe, particular in the bridge, but this is in so many ways traditional blues. 
There is a lot of jazzy blues in the mix "She's Got a Ring In His Nose." In some ways this makes me think of something Stevie Ray Vaughn might have done. It’s an energetic and classy tune that’s firmly set in the old school traditions. That even applies to the early tasty guitar soloing. There is a healthy dosage of Southern rock built into this beast, too. The guitar soloing near the end lands closer to modern blues. 
Next comes "Upside of Lonely," and the title pretty much reveals the lyrical theme here. This is another that’s a rather traditional blues stomper. It has some jazz and some rock and roll built into it. It’s a cool tune on a disc full of cool music. 
They follow that up with  a cover of "Heard It Through The Grapevine" really screams. It’s a hard rocking take on the piece. I think I like this better than just about any other version I’ve heard. You’ll probably find yourself singing along. The addition of Dana Fuch’s soulful vocals really adds a lot to this. 
There is very definitely a traditional electric blues vibe to the stomper called " Made Up My Mind." It’s a catchy cut with energy and great hooks. Another killer blues rocker, "Hot Mama" isn’t a huge change. It’s just very effective. It’s another that will probably have you singing along. 
I love the guitar riffing on the opening of " Heart Gone Cold." Somehow it makes me think of The Rolling Stones just a bit.  The chorus is not the kind of thing you’d expect from the Stones, though. It’s more of a melodic hard rocking 70s sound. 
"Honey Do List" is a great blues song. It’s energized and really faithful blues. Fuchs returns here. There is some amazing bass work on this, and I Love the slide guitar. 
A bit more of a rocker than a blues tune, "All Because Of You" has some screaming guitar soloing. It really works incredibly well. In fact, it’s one of my favorites here. They end the album with a new version of their trademark " Slow Ride." This isn’t a big change from the version we’re used to, but it still works extremely well.