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On disc: Night Ranger

Hole In The Sun - Claudia Ehrhardt - 8 stars
Somewhere In California - Claudia Ehrhardt - 9 stars
24 Strings And A Drummer - Claudia Ehrhardt - 9 stars

24 Strings And A Drummer

24 Strings And A Drummer
(Frontiers Records - 2012)

Night Ranger celebrate their 30th anniversary with a special album, it's all live and acoustic at 24 Strings And A Drummer. No need to talk about the skills of the band members, it would be like carrying coals to Newcastle!

They kick off with This Boy Needs To Rock, the acoustic version shows that Night Ranger can transfer their tunes easily into acoustic versions - and they still rock! The balladesque When You Close Your Eyes gets a little different treatment and here it's the different voices which shine here. Sentimental Street sticks out a bit as it has keyboards intro which shows Eric Levy's talent. But then the others join in and the melancholy tune is carried by keys and vocals. Simply enjoy songs like Let Him Run / Goodbye, Don't Tell Me You Love Me and Sister Christian.

This release is a CD+DVD release, but unfortunately I can't say anything about the DVD, coz we only got the audio tracks. But the show was recorded in front of a small audience, so it's up close and personal. Don't think you can go wrong with that...

If you like Night Ranger and if you have Tesla's Five Men Acoustical Jam and MSG's Unplugged Live in your collection and still enjoys them, then it's time to get a copy of 24 Strings And A Drummer!

Track listing:

This Boy Needs To Rock
When You Close Your Eyes
Sing Me Away
Growin' Up In California
The Secret Of My Success
Sentimental Street
Four In The Morning
Let Him Run / Goodbye
Forever All Over Again
Don’t Tell Me You Love Me
Sister Christian
(You Can Still) Rock In America
Boys Of Summer (bonus track)

9 stars

Claudia Ehrhardt


Somewhere In California

Somewhere In California
(Frontiers Records - 2011)

Night Ranger is back with Somewhere In California, their 10th studio album. The guys kick off with Growin' Up In California, an autobiographical (?) song. They choose this one for a video, so you can check it out here:

Real summer time feel, even if the rain is pouring outside your window which it does while I'm writing this review. Let them infect you with the sound of summer!

The following Lay It On Me offers a heavy riff and a highly infectious hookline. The fivesome manages to sound modern with the true 80's feel. After the slightly melancholy Bye Bye Baby they head into Follow Your Heart, a song which shows 70's rock elements and slowly gets into your gray mass. Another arena rock anthem. Time to slow down. Time Of Our Lives is a piano-based ballad with acoustic guitars and a positive vibe, especially during the refrain.

Another summer time tune is No Time To Lose Ya. A catchy AOR rocker which will get you into party mood.... This song make you think of a beach party, BBQ, everything you want to do at a warm summer day / night.

One of my favorites is End Of The Day, a classic rock track with a soaring guitar. A memorable guitar melody leads you into the tune, then the vocals set in and Jack Blades vocals hook you up. His expressive vocals ennoble the tune, an ear catcher! After another rocker they close this chapter with slightly sentimental AOR tune called Say It With Love. It reminds me slightly of Diamond Dave's California Girls, but it's just the songs feel.

Night Ranger deliver a great AOR album right in time for the summer. Enjoy it!

9 stars

Claudia Ehrhardt


Hole In The Sun

Hole In The Sun
(Frontiers - 2007)

Its been almost a decade since Night Ranger released Seven, but now they are back with Hole In The Sun. Usually there is only one or two original members left after so many years, but in case of Night Ranger 4/5 are there right from the start. Only keyboarder Michael Lardie is new and replaces Alan 'Fitz' Gerald. First Lardie was just hired for touring, but now entered the studio with them.

The guys start of quite heavy - compared with their last studio album. Powerful hard rock with heavy riffs. The vocals are partly sounding very modern, but they manage to combine modern sounds and traditional elements. Well done! Drama Queen is a straight forward rocker which gets the special touch due to the guitar duels. The refrain is catchy and soon you realize that you sing along... As usual Jack Blades and Kelly Keagy share vocal duties, even as the majority is sang by Blades. The track Whatever Happened is something college radio stations might play... While There Is Life is a beautiful ballad, but no masterpiece. It even has a slight Beatles-touch in the middle part. They try something different with Rockstar which is a bit funky. A kind of pop-funk rocker. I'm not sure, if Night Ranger fans will be happy with this track, but I liked Extreme's Get The Funk Out, so I think it's a nice change. The title track is also a bit funky... Catchy. If there is need for both tracks, I don't know. With White Knuckle Ride it gets heavy again - and modern. One of my highlights is Wrap It Up with the bluesy feeling, the slide guitar parts and the sharp riffs. A heavy hard rock tune which reminds me a bit of Damn Yankees - no surprise - and Giant.... I love the vocals on this one.... A real ear-catcher!

The quintet presents everything from AOR ballads to hard rockers to funky or modern college rock tunes. Usually I appreciate variety, but perhaps they push a little too far... On the other hand you can pick songs fitting the mood you are in... Try out: Wrap It Up, Drama Queen, There Is Life, White Knuckle Ride and Hole In The Soul to get the whole picture.

8 stars

Claudia Ehrhardt

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