I had the pleasure of reviewing Rick Shaffer’s second solo album titled ‘Hidden Charms’ back in 2011 for Skope and I knew then that Rick had a special quality about him. His latest release and now 5th solo effort, ‘Misadventure’, proves that Shaffer’s ‘Hidden Charms’ are revealed once and for all by way of his adventurous sound. Sticking with many of the same elements as ‘Hidden Charms’, Rick is hoping that ‘Misadventure’ will climb its way to the top.
Just as before, one will hear that raw, edgy garage rock/garage blues appeal to go along with that vintage 60’s rock ‘n’ roll vibe. With a heavy focus on the likes of Link Wray and the early Rolling Stones material, Shaffer and his fellow musicians are taking you back to the early days but with an original twist. The album is written and produced by Rick Shaffer as he is also responsible for the vocals, guitars, bass, fuzz bass, harmonica and percussion. Additional players on the record include: Les Chisholm, Del Robinson and Anna Burne on drums and percussion along with Boo Boo Spencer on bass drum, spoons and percussion, and Teddy “Boy” Rixon on additional bass. Together they have created something I would like to call Rocky Mountain Blues where Rock & Blues collide to give you one vast and explosive sound.
The new album starts off with a bang on “Fooling Me” with a rockin’ groove and beat to go along with Rick’s unique vocals that appear out-of-whack with the music at first but it gradually works itself out as the song rolls along. You’re definitely getting that stripped down, garage band vibe all the way with even a bit of some punk rock influence from Rick’s vocal delivery on track 2 “Some Say.” As the record spins away Rick is channeling early Stones and Mick Jagger to the point where it’s actually uncanny at times. I had to stop myself at moments thinking “wait a minute, that’s not Mick Jagger, or is it? And if so, where is he and what have you done with Rick Shaffer!” All jokes aside, it really is amazing how Rick was able to tap into his inner Mick with the “Jagger-isms” in full force! On song 11, “Gone Gone Gone,” get ready to go south for some swampy, rocky blues where Shaffer and company are not holding back anything. There are also some excellent guitar riffs and hooks throughout this album along with some fine harmonica playing.
My only advice as I said earlier is to not replicate the original artist too closely because that could get you in trouble and also take away from the overall originality and tone of the recording. Other than that I simply love what Rick has done here on ‘Misadventure’ with his take on classic rock and blues. It’s daring … it’s bold … it’s Rick Shaffer crashing the mainstream music party with open arms! In the words of the great Ricky Nelson and The Allman Brothers, what can I say other than Rick Shaffer is a “Ramblin’, “Travelin’ Man” moving from here to there with no boundaries in place and plenty to say. A train’s a comin’ and Rick Shaffer’s hoppin’ aboard while chuggin’ along with some good, old-fashioned Rocky Mountain Blues.
∎ Jimmy Rae | SCOPE (firstname.lastname@example.org) Rating: 4 (out of 5)