The Red Rocker, Unplugged

musings 250_edited-1If you know me or have read any of my past blogs, you know that I love me some rock and roll.  As I often say – “if it’s too loud, you are too old!”  But you should also know that my musical tastes are pretty varied.  One of my favorite rock & roll singers is Sammy Hagar.  In the pre-Van Halen days, I liked his Standing Hampton & the very popular V.O.A. albums.  And yes, I think he blows Dave away as far as the front man for Van Halen, but that is another topic for another day.  Post Van Halen though is some of his best work.  He has embraced the beach bum persona much like Chesney and the master himself – Buffett.

I was thrilled to learn that Sammy recently released an acoustic album entitled Lite Roast.  He has a couple of extensive interviews posted online that are quite interesting.  He describes the process of making the album with his longtime Wabo guitarist, Vic Johnson.  If you haven’t seen Vic live – you are missing an amazing guitarist.  He can play the Van Halen tunes note for note and his guitar version of the piano-heavy Right Now will knock your socks off.  Anyway, the premise is that Sammy & Vic went into a studio with two acoustic guitars and let the tape roll, so to speak.  No overdubs, tricks or anything.  As Sammy puts it – these songs are what he heard in his head as he was writing them – stripped down, just the guitar and vocals.

Within the track list (below) are two Van Halen classics – Finish What Ya Started & Dreams.  He talks about how he had to lower the key for Dreams.  He also goes on to say how when Van Halen recorded the song, it had the highest notes in any song he had ever done and when he went there, the folks in the recording studio went nuts.  If I had to name a favorite, it would probably be Eagles Fly.  From his lone solo album while he was the fronting Van Halen the first time, this has always been a favorite of mine.  This song would typically be the song Sammy would do acoustically (with the full band finishing it) during his “solo” part of a Van Halen show.

Sammy talks about the fact that he really doesn’t need to tour or put out albums for the money.  He does because he wants to and to give his fans something.  For that, I am thankful.  He isn’t afraid to put something out that is totally different from anything he has done before.  He can do that – he is Sammy.

Here are the tracks on Lite Roast:

  • Red Voodoo
  • One Sip
  • Finish What Ya Started
  • Eagles Fly
  • The Love
  • Father Sun
  • Dreams
  • Deeper Kinda Love
  • Who Has the Right?
  • Sailin’
  • Halfway to Memphis

Related Links:

http://www.rollingstone.com/music/features/sammy-hagar-van-halen-reunion-tour-for-the-fans-20141030 – Rolling Stone interview about the new  album.

About Zach Clayton

Zach Clayton started Music Musings in 2013, but isn’t a stranger to music. While he may be a mild mannered accountant by day, he always has tunes going and forces his staff at work to play music trivia when they enter his office. He is a self-proclaimed lover of all music genres with over 3,500 songs in his iPod. Zach’s first concert was Eddie Money in Vanderbilt’s Memorial Gym in 1979 and claims to have seen Van Halen (all three incarnations) over 25 times. There have only been one or two years since 1979 that Zach hasn’t been to a concert. He also has the uncanny knack of getting to know several folks in the music scene – both out front and behind the scenes. Zach is in the process of indoctrinating his two boys into the rock and roll way by exposing them to concerts and various music while holding them hostage in his truck screaming the mantra – “rap is crap!”

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