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Iron Bridge Band - Road Not Taken


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I am really liking what I'm hearing from this band...




From the band's website:





Loud, fast and profane do not necessarily equal intensity and profundity. Instead, it is created by broad artistic vision, technical excellence and a burning passion to bare uninhibited emotions. The Iron Bridge Band from New Jersey has it all and a raucous sense of abandon. Led by extraordinary guitarist and songwriter Stephen Walsh, exceptionally soulful lead singer and songwriter Chandler Mogel and the husband and wife grooving rhythm section of drummer Scott Suky and bassist Lanie Suky, they have forged a spectacular follow up to their debut EP.

The original 12-song set blasts off with the heart pounding “Thunder in a Sacred Place.” Mogel rocks the hypnotically poetic chorus “I could see the lightning, I could see your face, no wonder I heard thunder in a sacred place,” with “sacred place” conjuring multiple images both “sacred” and “profane.” Walsh pushes hard with his clanging rhythm guitar and a flaming solo, while backup singer Jessie Wagner could give Merrie Clayton a run for her money. “Best Wine” chugs suggestively with barely restrained lust, Mogel waxing poetic about the woman of his desires before rising to the occasion in the anthem-like chorus “On the line between good and bad, she’s like the best wine I ever had” and Walsh accompanying with sensuous tone in complete “harmony” with the lyric content. The enticingly smooth, jazzy pop of “Wildflower” has Mogel wisely advising “So dive into your soul and tell yourself that ‘The day is mine’” as the antidote for escaping the dark, while painting a dream picture of serenity with lush, evocative country metaphors. Continuing the album theme, the rocking “Petticoat Road” tells of wrong choices in life and the determination to persevere with a defiant “Still I’m standing tall in the rain” as Walsh weaves gorgeous, melancholy melodies reminiscent of Duane and Dickey.

The piercing ballad “All Our Yesterdays” digs deeper into the ache of regret and the promise of “Here and now, our second chance is waiting”It’s not too late to think about tomorrow” following “Don’t know when, we took that road not taken” as the band supports with uncommon empathy. The dynamic folk rocking “Bittersweet” plumbs depths of despair about an ill-conceived romance with Mogel confessing “I didn’t wanna go down that road, but I followed her lead, like the light at the end of the tunnel and I thought, “Well that was then, this is now, and I can feel me come alive again”" intensified by a soaring guitar solo of tear-stained, “bittersweet” notes. With spiritual overtones on “Smokin’ Gun”, Mogel declares “Take my blues, gonna have some fun, gotta kick that throttle cause what’s done is done. On my knees for my only son, I’m a lose that bottle and the smokin’ gun” on a rousing, “fist in the air” Southern rocker kicked forward relentlessly by the rock steady Sukys. The ready for prime time “Once Beautiful (Love Like Rain)” keeps the blood pumping in a hopeful plea to a lover with “Once we were beautiful, our eyes could see. Now we’re lost inside a memory. So we love like rain to get back where we used to be,” Walsh adding wordless encouragement with beautifully sculpted licks.

The gorgeous solo acoustic guitar instrumental “Miles to Go” provides a brief musical sanctuary in which to meditate on the title and its relationship to the other tracks. The acoustic-powered “The Most Benevolent Wind” uses the literate spiritual metaphor of a “benevolent” and a “malevolent” wind to address true love and true answers in an exceptionally moving take that could be likened to the Shakespeare quote, “The fault is not in our stars, but in ourselves.” Walsh contributes the solace of another instrumental exploration with “Before I Sleep,” his acoustic guitar overlaid with golden celestial electric lines. The album closes intimately with just the guitarist and the lead singer revisiting “All Our yesterdays” in an “unplugged” format that serves to heighten the emotional “head slap” of the lyrics.

The Iron Bridge Band spans and connects generations and genres with the healing, celebratory qualities of the greatest rock music. Their ability to combine the sum total of their life experiences in the creation of a lasting musical statement is a profound accomplishment.

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