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Music Review: Roger Salloom – Last Call

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Born in Worcester, Massachusetts, by 1967 Roger Salloom had migrated to San Francisco to become a participant in the west coast psychedelic music movement. He formed the band Mother Bear and while they did not achieve great commercial success, they did share the Fillmore West stage with the likes of Santana, Procol Harum, Van Morrison, and B.B. King. The seventies found him moving to Nashville and assembling the group Area Code 615. As the years passed he returned to his native Massachusetts where he raised a family, created a cartoon strip, and virtually disappeared from the music scene.

The 21st century has found him creating music and touring extensively once again. Last Call is his fourth release since 2004 following Eventually, So Glad I Made It: The Saga Of Roger Salloom, America’s Best Unknown Songwriter and La Te Da.

This latest album of original material continues to showcase his ability as a wonderful lyricist. His gentle and introspective songs explore love, friendship, and life. He even adds in a little humor along the way. His creations are ably supported by lead guitarists Tom Filiault and Hal Benoit, keyboardist and accordion player Seth Glier, saxophonist Charles Neville, and vocalist Bekka Bramlett among others.

Salloom’s music can be divided into two categories. “O’Nello” and “If This Is It I’m Ready” are smooth flowing tracks and full blown productions. The first is breezy, up-tempo, and features fine co-lead vocals from Bramlett. The second has some nice tempo changes and makes creative use of background vocals. On the other hand, a number of his songs are stripped down which places the emphasis squarely on his voice as he presents and interprets his music and lyrics. Songs such as “When You Can’t Do Anything,” “I’m In Trouble Again,” and the title song appear perfect for the small and smoky night club as a mournful sax adds to the atmosphere.

Roger Salloom has aged well. Since coming out of semi-retirement he has created a number of albums that set the standard for singer/songwriters. In the final analysis, Last Call is an excellent release from a master craftsman.

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