Sully Erna - Hometown Life

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Released a year ago in North America, Godsmack front-man Sully Erna is making good use of breaks in the band's touring and recording for this second solo effort. Having already played some live shows on home soil, he is due to visit Europe in October, with the European release of the album arriving the week before the tour starts. This will be the first time Europe has seen any activity around Erna's solo material as his first album, Avalon in 2010, didn't receive any touring. On that album the focus was acoustic guitar, piano, and vocals, and in the end it was effectively a duet record with Lisa Guyer. Hometown Life is a much more band-oriented affair, so has a bigger sound all over; the percussion is mostly provided by a full drum kit instead of hand drums, and there are a lot more electric guitars, but it stops short of out-and-out rock. The weaknesses of Avalon were that most of the songs were too long, and therefore became repetitive towards their ends, and there wasn't actually enough Sully on it. That's the not the case here, from the wonderful, soaring title track onwards, no song breaks five minutes, and the whole album is done and dusted in under three quarters of an hour, with Sully singing lead vocals on every track. This tighter running time makes for snappier songs, a couple of which, like Your Own Drum and Different Kind of Tears, could come from recent Bon Jovi songwriting sessions, but the rest is unmistakably Erna (and he makes those other two his own as well). Everything here is simply more memorable than on Avalon, and for song-driven albums, that's essential. The swing rhythms of Turn It Up! and the solitary Blues Skies or Falling To Black are also highlights amongst some of the best songs Sully has ever penned. Mixed with the highlights of Avalon, and a handful of Godsmack songs reworked as some were on The Other Side, his live sets will be outstanding.

Written by Andy Lye
More: 2016, Acoustic/Folk, Albums, Quickplay Reviews,

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