Dudley Taft’s new album Summer Rain consists of 11 all-original songs recorded in his recently purchased home studio, which used to belong to Peter Frampton. This album has a much heavier rock bent to it, if that is possible, than his previous albums. With a title like Summer Rain this one sounds like it would be all happiness and joy, but there’s a brooding dark sense of separation throughout the album. Dudley had the hardships of our service men and women on his mind throughout the recording as he was thinking about and what it must be like to “put myself in their boots and explore what their feelings would be when away from home for so long. That is the thread that links all the songs together.”
Collaborating again with Dudley is the great Reese Wynans on keyboards, Jason Patterson plays drums on most of the album with Mike Tapogna serving on the rest while John Kessler splits the bass duties with Kasey Williams. The album opens up with the fuzz laden “Flying on Love” that fits perfect with the “fine tequila and sensimiila” vibe as you are washed over with the layered guitars. “Dark Blue Star” gives more of the hard driving back beat rhythm and searing lead guitar work that permeates his work. Rachel Williams adds some distant echo vocals during the chorus. The title track “Summer Rain” has a dark undertone as he waits for that cooling summer rain to waiting to cool him down and wash away his troubles. We get a tight blues boogie with some more layered guitars with the doubled up lead guitar as he sings about how a rejected love drives him to the “Edge of Insane.”
Things get a psychedelic with the slow burn blues of “Live or Die” which has a Robin Trower loaded guitar sound that dives into Hendrix territory. “Pistols at Ten Paces” starts out with a distorted guitar that sounds like it could have come straight out of some spaghetti western high noon shoot out scene, which is entirely appropriate for this comment on war and quickly transforms to a heavy blues rock riff. Reese Wynan’s organ work in the background of “Don’t Let it Fade” is stellar and adds to the infectious groove of this track. We get a hint of acoustic guitar although this time layered over some electric guitar on the brooding “Moonbeam.”
Then screaming guitar punches you right in the face to start out “Come With Me,” which has a heavy riff that underpins the whole song while Dudley builds the tension with some searing clean guitar soloing until the bottom drops out and then quickly builds again. Everything really slows down for the haunting ballad “I Lost My Way,” which as you listen you can only imagine stretched out with an extended emotional solo. To close things out we again get the layered acoustic and electric guitar on “Find My Way Home” as a soldier reflects on reasons he wants to make it through and return home.
Summer Rain is probably Dudley’s best work to date. While all of his releases to date have a certain darkness to them this one has that underlying theme of a soldier’s hardships, stress, toil, and struggle to find their way home that makes this a cohesive whole. His song writing is the perfect combination of brooding remembrance with killer guitar chops that all blues rock fans adore.
The Review: 9/10
Can’t Miss Tracks
– Summer Rain
– Live of Die
– I Lost My Way
– Find My Way Back Home
The Big Hit
– Summer Rain
Review by Kevin O’Rourke