“Night Train” – Jericho Summer

3 stars (out of 5)

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Jericho_Summer_Night_Train_2016[1]So where do we start with this one? Well, I’m going to mangle a metaphor, a football one at that. It’s a game of two halves and, at times, the two halves are being played simultaneously. Jericho Summer are Jay Zeffin (guitar and vocal) and Vanessa Joy (Vocals) plus core band Tom Tyson (bass/production), Rodders Rodders (guitar) Guy Lancaster (Hammond) and John Marcangelo (drums and piano). Marco Mendoza (bass) and the legendary Albert Lee (guitar) also make guest appearances. With that kind of line-up you would expect something very special musically from the album, and you wouldn’t be wrong.

The album’s title track (and opener), “Night Train”, choogles along nicely. There’s a big chorus with some nice Hammond and the song’s punctuated with some really nice guitar fills. It’s not ground-breaking but it’s enjoyable, good-time Southern rock. So far, so good, but what about that other half I was telling you about. Well, the lyrics don’t always match the standard of the music. I’m not saying they’re bad, just a bit predictable. For example ‘She grew up in a real small town, Everybody tried to put her down’ from “Lonely Town”; from the end of the first line, you know exactly what the second line is. “Bitchin’ with a Woman” is a real seventies throwback with lines like ‘I got pain like Cain and Abel’, and attitudes that are at least forty years old.

If you focus on the diamonds you might be able to ignore the dust; “Good One Comin’ On” is an Eagles-like good time party song in the mould of “Take it Easy”, “Coming Home” has some nice twin guitar work and multi-layered vocals, while the closer, “Running Free” has a stomping Black Crowes/Led Zeppelin riff driving the song along. Musically there’s a lot to like about “Night Train”, but most of the lyrics are a bit forgettable. How about four stars for the music and two stars for the words giving an average of three? Sounds about right to me.

“Night Train” is out on Friday August 26th on Devil’s Blade Records (DBL017081).