The Outside Voices Smoothly Blend Rock, Country and Soul on ‘Stoned and Lonely’ (ALBUM REVIEW)

The Outside Voices is a band from Kent, Ohio, a town that has been home to Joe Walsh and Dan Auerbach. The band has previously released a full album called Hound Dogs and a four-song EP called Big, Big EP. Stoned and Lonely is the band’s third release since 2017. With a sound that blends 70s groove rock, country, and soul, the band carries on the tradition of prolific and worthwhile rock acts from northeast Ohio.

Lots of rock and roll songs have been written about bourbon. The Outside Voices put their own spin on an ode to the amber elixir with “Bourbon in Bed.” It opens with a boogie riff that would fit just as easily on a Thin Lizzy album. That is enough to grab your attention, but it also features some horns that provide a layer of soul to the guitar and bass – similar to what you hear in some Lucero songs. Then you hear JP Halling sing, “I pack a bottle of Bulleit and a toothbrush…She don’t like to be wined and dined. She likes her bourbon in bed.” Like an old Rolling Stones song, this is some dirty rock and roll with a dash of soul.

There is a country component to this album too. You hear it in “Picking up the Pieces,” in which the pedal steel is a good compliment to the gritty guitar sound. It’s also pretty evident in the title track. Throughout the song, one guitar has a spacy Bakersfield sound while the other has a psychedelic sound – particularly in the instrumental break. The result is a song that could just as easily be from the early 70s.

The band shows that it is pretty adept at straightforward rockers too. “Talk about It” is a straightforward rocker. Sam Langstaff drives the song with a beat that is sure to get you stomping your feet. Meanwhile, Kevin McManus lays down a groovy bass line and the guitarists crank both the volume and the tempo. This is a song that begs to be blared from the windows of a dirty Ford Ranchero.

The Outside Voices show that they can operate in 70s rock, country, and soul – sometimes simultaneously. The real charm of this album is that every song offers something a little different from rockers to ballads like “When I Get Home.” The band is both tight and energetic throughout the album. The effect is that you want to know not only this album, but also the band’s previous work. 

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