Don Felder – American Rock ‘n’ Roll (2019)

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American Rock n Roll is the third full length solo album from former Eagles lead guitarist Don Felder.  In this self produced effort, Felder does a fine job of delivering his musical vision, and brings along a collection of guests to help get it across, including Slash, Mick Fleetwood, Chad Smith, Sammy Hagar and Joe Satriani.

Opening with the title track, Felder walks us through the history of American rock, name checking Hendrix, CSNY, Janis Joplin, Guns n Roses, Eddie Vedder and Billy Joel among others.  It’s arguably the best song on the album, with a definite swagger and some great soloing from Felder and Slash.

Charmed is rooted in the blues, while Falling in Love is more of an AOR style ballad.  It’s a decent vocal performance, and there’s a nice guitar solo, but the track as a whole falls a little short of the mark for me.

Hearts on Fire is funky, and will be a crowd pleaser.  I can imagine Bryan Adams having great success with this track.  Limelight is another bluesy shuffle, and the dueling guitar solos from Richie Sambora and Orianthi add a nice touch.

Little Latin Lover is unfortunately another mis-step for me.  It’s not terrible, but held up against the likes of American Rock and Roll, it doesn’t cut it.  Rock You, on the other hand, is custom made for stadiums.  It’s a huge rock sound delivered here, complete with gang vocals and ripping guitar work from Joe Satriani.

She Doesn’t Get It could be a radio hit, with its modern sounding take on classic rock.  Sun slows the pace and heads into ballad territory.  It’s a very low tempo track, featuring some wonderful vocals.  Continuing in to ballad territory, The Way Things Have To Be is the superior ballad here, proving that Felder can still write Eagles quality rock ballads.

Closing out the album is You’re My World.  It’s very pop oriented, and while it is a decent song, it’s not the highest note the album could have closed on.

Sure there are a few missteps along the way, but they’re forgivable when the rest of the record is so strong.  Don Felder is still capable of writing great rock tunes, and with the impressive list of artists he’s brought in for American Rock n Roll, he has crafted an album that will appeal to a wide variety of fans, both old and new.  It’s also commendable that rather than rest on his laurels and go out to just rehash Eagles classics, Felder still wants to release new music.

7/10

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