Been waiting for that ideal combination of garage and Southern rock? Then the third album by this maverick Washington state band, released last June, might fit the bill. Combining reckless power-chording and Allman Brothers-style roadhouse blues, The Lonely H seems to want to revive classic rock. Just don't tell 'em the Black Crowes have already done it.
They are partly successful. The band's chooglin' snarl and ramshackle approach to Americana is immediately infectious in the opening track, "Right Down to Me," and vocalist-keyboardist Mark Fredson can work up an impressive alley-cat yowl. The galloping "Cold Blues" has a lurching momentum and enough twang and grit to please Hank Jr.
Sometimes, however, Fredson can be tediously maudlin and mundane, such as on the wimpy, woe-is-me-I'm-on-the-road ballad "The Singer." Fredson apparently has a connection to Arizona, as evidenced in the sappy "Phoenix." On songs such as these, The Lonely H seems to want to be compared to The Band, but ends up aping the worst of watered-down 1970s country-rock, like The Eagles. The weary-sounding "Girl From Jersey" sounds uncomfortably similar to that band's "Take It Easy."
Preferable is when the band kicks out the jams in a charmingly unsophisticated manner, such as on "Diggin' a Hole," and "Out West," songs that allow The Lonely H to stumble across the perfect blend of Mott the Hoople-style glam and growling neo-country riffing.