REVIEW – ZZ TOP LEGEND, BILLY GIBBONS RETURNS WITH HIS THIRD SOLO EFFORT

Posted on by Oran


There a few things in this complicated world that we can truly rely on. Thankfully, one of those is the one and only Reverend Billy Gibbons, whose third solo album, ‘Hardware’ offers a tantalising mixture of dusty desert Blues, Southern Hard Rock, and that slick guitar work, he’s so well known for.¬†

Gibbons assembled an impressive list of guests for ‘Hardware’ including The Cult/Gun’s n’ Roses drummer, Matt Sorum, and gifted singer/songwriter Austin Hanks, making the twelve cuts on the album slide into the atmosphere while politely taking hold of a corner of your brain.

Album opener ‘My Lucky Card‘, figuratively opens the doors and hands the listener a cold beer, while a journey through a collection of heartfelt stories of luck, chance happenings, leaps of faith, lost love and wild nights, plays out to a background of Gibbons all-to-familiar impeccable guitar tones, and low-Southern vocal tone.

Hardware‘ is a predominantly upbeat album with tracks from the get-go with chugging stompers, ‘She’s On Fire‘, ‘More-More-More‘ [which is not too far off the stylings of a Rob Zombie track] to the wonderfully-titled, ‘Shuffle, Step & Slide‘, which does exactly what it says on the tin.

Wading deeper into the hot swampy center of ‘Hardware‘ you’ll find Billy truly shining on the delicately performed, ‘Vegabond Man‘,¬†showcasing his deep raspy vocals, matched with his unique ability to make his Gibson wail like no other.

Spanish Fly‘ continues the vibe with an ominous slow-burner, finishing with some frontline percussion from Sorum, who is being egged on by Gibbons, giving the track a live feeling.

American Roots Rockers, Larkin Poe make an appearance on the steam-train chugging, ‘Stackin’ Bones‘ giving an extra punch in your whiskey gut before the album changes gear yet again with, ‘I Was a Highway‘ before ‘S-G-L-M-B-B-R‘ cruises by with the chant, “I am what I am, It is what it is” – a simple and effective piece of advice from the Referend.

Overall, ‘Hardware‘ delivers a solid contribution to Gibbon’s already impressive career. If you want to escape to a tranquil desert party where the beers are cold, the natives are friendly and the good times are rollin’, then pick up a copy. You won’t be disappointed.¬† 7/10.

Hardware‘ will be released via Concord Records on June 4th. Order your copy here.

Oran O’Beirne

www.overdrive.ie 2021