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Boneyard Dog: Bluesbound Train (2016)

Ireland-based quartet BONEYARD DOG was formed at the end of 2015, and consist of veteran musicians of the kind that comes with something of a pedigree in the world of music: Rob Mancini (vocals, bass), Davy K (vocals, guitars) Tony Carey, (keyboards) and Ron Wikso (drums). “Bluesbound Train” is their debut album, and was released through German label AOR Heaven towards the end of 2016.

Unlike what one might expect, seeing the choice of record label and the past of some members of this foursome, Boneyard Dog isn’t what you’d describe as a typical AOR band. Instead, the name of their debut album is a much stronger clue as to the kind of music to expect, even if that is also slightly misleading. The blues is at the heart of what this band does, although their style is about a wee bit more than just that.

Blues based rock and blues based hard rock will perhaps be the styles most significant to drop as far as guiding a potential audience is concerned. There are lots of guitars at hand here. Often smooth and somewhat toned down, but the rock and hard rock aspects of the style explored here is undeniable, although also explored with some variety. Gentler ballad-oriented affairs and slow cuts have their place just as much as dark and at times dirty hard rock, and the token cut with more of a purebred blues orientation does appear at the very end as well.

But especially on the opening half of this CD southern rock vibes are perhaps the ones most prominent. Often combined with more dominant organ details, that in effect creates music of the kind I’d expect to hear if Deep Purple ever decided to explore the southern rock genre. As this album unfolds they start to move away from this kind of expression however, and move over to more of a southern US type of blues rock. The PR blurb states that the cut Lay Down the Law apparently has something of a ZZ Top sound to it. I’ll say perhaps for that, and then referencing the later stages of their career for that namedrop. Personally I found the song just before it, Paid My Dues, to be a lot closer to the kind of music I associate with the bearded US threesome, and then first and foremost the material they explored in the earlier parts of their career.

But it is within those confines and borders that this album exist. The blues is at the core of just about everything, and as far as more specific style descriptions are concerned the band is operating within the triangle of southern rock, US style blues rock and hard rock Deep Purple style, with an emphasis on the first two of this threesome.

Boneyard Dog is a quartet of experienced musicians and quality songwriters that have combined their talents to create a professional, smooth and broadly appealing album of music in a blues rock going towards blues based hard rock kind of style – or vice versa. With solid craftsmanship at display on all levels. Those who find such a description to be of interest will most likely find this album to be one that merits an inspection.

My rating: 8/10

Track list:
Atchafayalla; Mother Lode; Kingdom of Your Company; Lonely Road; 100 Guns; Bluesbound Train; Paid My Dues; Lay Down the Law; Hell and Back; Heartbreaker; Fire Down Below; Boneyard Dog

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