The Rock Pit - Hard rock, Metal and Blues Interviews, news & reviews from Australia and around the world

The Rock Pit - Hard rock, Metal and Blues Interviews, news & reviews from Australia and around the world

Lynyrd Skynyrd - God + Guns

Laid back Southern rock searching for glory days past


Lynyrd Skynyrd 2009 make no apologies for who they are – or more specifically aren’t – they know exactly who their audience is just as they know exactly who they are and where they stand in the overall scheme of things.


Down to only one original member following the recent passing of keyboardist and bassist Billy Powell & Ean Evans, the band state their proudly redneck agenda with the standout title track (“God and guns keep us strong, that’s what this country was founded on”) and deliver a supremely confident slab of whiskey soaked southern boogie n’ blues with an occasional hint of a cowboy country influence.


Where they fall down is in comparison with the orginal band. Unfair or not, it’s impossible to avoid comparing the two – and since they continue to trade on past glories, why should we even try? Donnie Van Zant doesn’t have his brother’s voice – the charisma and inflection he had – but it suits the new mellower style a lot more than the older material.


Simple Life, shows they have taken more than a few pointers from tour-mate Kid Rock’s recent output, is all radio friendly modern country tinged southern rock - and of course the irony is that Skynyrd are one of Kid’s biggest influences, so a case of the student teaching the teacher, perhaps?


Skynyrd perform well throughout, and can certainly still cut it live, but the new material lacks something as memorable as a Freebird or Gimme Three Steps – indeed songs like Unwrite That Song and That Ain’t My America really would sound more at home on modern country radio. The aforementioned title track is about the only time the guitar leads are allowed to go wild over a strong song - the original band’s trademark - though closer Gifted Hands does it’s best to be a modern day Freebird, falling just slightly short of the mark.


There’s tasty riffs all round though, and Comin’ Back For More and Skynyrd Nation are amongst the heaviest things the band in any incarnation have ever released, but overall the feeling is mixed: this is far and away the best of the modern band’s albums for sure, but it’s inevitably short of what long time Skynyrd fans want, which is to hold this band up next to the orginal as equals.


I’m left wondering: do they really have one more great album worthy of the name Lynyrd Skynyrd left in them? God + Guns comes close, so I sure hope so…