“The Love” is a fantastic album. Each song folds into the next and one is left with a complete listening experience. Musically, it is all here, twangy and gritty guitars, dusty and driving rhythms, as well as incredibly raw vocals, all come together to form a stunning recording. Over the course of his career, Derek Lee Goodreid has always been able to create meticulously detailed worlds for his songs to inhabit. It seems as though dirty guitar notes, and swampy tones can develop into entire landscapes in his hands. If there has been a constant in Derek’s work, it’s been his ability to take the listener and drop them into a fully realized and completely believable musical environment that stretches across however many tracks any particular project runs for.
On “The Love”, Derek Lee Goodreid has again succeeded brilliantly, but this time reaches for, and exudes, a far greater confidence and maturity than we’ve ever heard on previous records. The man is totally on fire.
He opens the album with “The Shakes”, a surging track that builds around mounting electric guitars and a rolling drumbeat, which draws the listener into its curious tale. And as the last few notes fade away, you know exactly where you stand in relation to Derek’s music, and you’re already enraptured by the rugged, adrenaline-filled scenery.
The guitars jangle and twang on the chugging rock n’ roll rhythms of “Devil’s Due” and “Road of Bones”, before sliding into the abrasive “Needles & Sin”.
It’s strange to think that Derek Lee Goodreid sounds even better here than on previous albums, as his voice has always been one of the focal points of his songs, but this record just seems to bring out some inner reservoir of strength and vitality in the man. And all comes to a head on the railroad blues chant of “Sinner’s Prayer”.
With its spirited musical swells and ominous drums, the shuffling rhythm of “Sticking Around” carries the listener over its waves, and a melody so serpentine that it seems to be in constant motion.
The casual ease and nonchalance with which Derek Lee Goodreid creates songs within this bluesy, rock n’ roll context is a testament to his already considerable proficiency and abject love of this music. So when he hits the title track “The Love” in full flight, you almost take its authentic raw sound for granted.
Derek Lee Goodreid takes the echoing, border-town outlaw sound, and expands it until it seems to be on the verge of bursting on “Gone For Good” and “Big Bad Wolf”. All throughout this album, Derek shows us how he has managed to resuscitate and preserve styles that had largely been given up on.
And listening to the final track, “Howl at the Moon”, with its resonant keys and gravelly vocals, is another nostalgic, mind-wandering experience. Derek Lee Goodreid traffics in a sound that is gritty, genuine, and, at times, viscerally raw.
“The Love” is Derek Lee Goodreid way of showing the world that he isn’t just another decent modern-day blues-rock and Americana performer, but a creative, and surprisingly intelligent songwriter who thoroughly understands, and prefers the blues-rock and Americana based genres to any other.