Back in the days when the earth was flannel, metal had gone 'nu,' and stoner rock was young (i.e. the late '90s), Boston quartet Roadsaw regularly found themselves mentioned alongside charter groups like Nebula and Fu Manchu when discussions of the burgeoning genre were had. But even though they had unleashed their debut album, Nationwide, in the midst of that movement's biggest surge of popularity, Roadsaw were really disciples of a much more timeless, clique-less school of stripped down hard rock (no space flights for these cats). Hence the informative title of their sophomore record, Rawk n' Roll, which sadly vanished without a trace after being released through tiny independent Luna Sound, in 2002, but was deservingly reissued by Small Stone five years later. But whether you're listening to it in '02, '07, or, by some miracle of time travel, 1977, chances are you'll find Roadsaw's universal brand of heavy blues rock perfectly 'contemporary' with that of '70s icons like the James Gang, Ted Nugent, or hometown heroes Aerosmith. Montrose is another band that comes immediately to mind (think "Bad Motor Scooter"), while listening to Roadsaw specialties like "Right on Through," "Bad Ass Rising," "The Finger" and "Buried Alive," whose riffs actually sound like a stock car's motor revving. Elsewhere, guitarist Ian Ross pulls out all the stops for some truly sizzling guitar work on the Atomic Bitchwax-like "Disconnected," drummer Hari Hassin inserts a half-backwards drum solo into "Blackout Driver," and guest organist Eric Welsh adds another dimension to Hammond-ized cuts like "Foot" and the Doors-ish instrumental "That's Mr. Motherf**ker to You." Finally, and definitely worth mentioning is the vocal elasticity of frontman Craig Riggs, whose soulful grit holds down center stage with confidence throughout, but really proves its mettle when isolated for the one-off blues ballad "Your Own Private Slice of Hell." In sum, it's somewhat understandable that Roadsaw's bare-bones Rawk n' Roll would be rather overlooked amidst the stoner rock scene's flashier competition, but as time goes on, that simplicity increasingly spares them from being dated along with it, and many of their peers.
released 21 August 2007
Craig Riggs: Vocals
Ian Ross: Guitars
Tim Catz: Bass
Hari Hassin: Drums
Eric Welsh: Organ & Piano
Jim Janota: Bongongos
Recorded & Mixed by Andrew "Fingers" Schneider at Mad Oak Studios - Boston, MA.
Drum Tech: Carl Plaster.
Mastered by Henk Kooistra at 9 West.
Layout by Bob Maloney.
Front Cover Photo by Beth Schneckenburger.
Inside Photo by Catherine Carter and manipulated by Joe Niedbala.
Additional Mastering by Nick Zampiello.