Richie Sambora has been a busy boy recently. The latest Bon Jovi album is due for release at the beginning of March, and will quickly be followed by one of those massive stadium world tours the band is accustomed to.
But in the second half of 2012, the famous guitarist also released a new solo album, entitled Aftermath of the Lowdown. It's his third solo record, after Stranger In This Town (1991) and Undiscovered Soul (1998). The new record was released on an independent label (Dangerbird Records) for the first time in his career. This obviously allowed him the artistic freedom he needed for this very personal album, co-produced by longtime friend Luke Ebbin. Ebbin also co-wrote and composed most of the songs with Sambora.
Aftermath of the Lowdown starts with great fanfare on "Burn that Candle down". Wow. The opening solo immediately gets your attention. In fact, these riffs could even be described as a slap in the face, in a good way. How much Sambora and his musicians are enjoying themselves totally comes across, and this unexpected song wets your appetite for what comes next.
And what comes next is "Every Road Leads Home To You", the first single released. This one is more of a mainstream rock song, talking about going home to your family. In Sambora's case, this would mean to his beloved teenage daughter, Ava. The last song he wrote on Aftermath was also dedicated to her, "I'll Always Walk Beside You". It was inspired by a photo he gave her many years ago, on which he had scribbled these words.
Aftermath alternates between punchy, energetic pieces and emotional ones. Out of the 11 songs, "You Can Only Get So High" and "Seven Years Gone" seemed to be the most introspective. It's not easy to talk about your addictions and what you have to face once the euphoria disappears, or about not being "present" in your life. Perhaps it's a way to protect yourself because what you are going through is so painful, and then you realise one day that seven years have gone by. But even in this poignant song ("Seven Years Gone"), Sambora decided to leave at the end one of these extended jams present throughout the album. Again, this is unexpected and gives the song an extra kick.