Left Lane Cruiser Stirs Up Foot-Stomping Blues With ‘Shake and Bake’ (ALBUM REVIEW)

One of the great things about Left Lane Cruiser is that this band from Fort Wayne, Indiana doesn’t really sound like any other band. With nasty slide guitar licks from Freddy J IV and the pounding beats of Pete Dio, this band produces a sound that you’re not likely to hear from too many other sources.

Throughout its history, Left Lane Cruiser hasn’t really changed its formula. The new album Shake and Bake is no exception. This is pure Left Lane Cruiser, and every second is enjoyable.  

Left Lane Cruiser may not be a traditional blues band (well, frankly not much about this band that is traditional.) However, there is no question that this is a blues band. Granted, it is a blues sound that is best described as dirty or greasy, but it is blues. When you hear Freddy J IV move his slide up and down the fretboard in the title track, it’s hard not to think about the far-out sounds of RL Burnside. In “Smooth Commander”, Freddy J IV picks with a tone and rhythm that is similar to contemporaries like the Reverend Peyton’s Big Damn Band.

This album contains one notable guest appearance. In the instrumental break of “Mule Plow Line”, Freddy J IV shouts, “Jimbo Mathus, y’all!” At that moment you realize that this guest appearance is perfect. Who is better to play with Left Lane Cruiser than Jimbo Mathus? Not surprisingly, Mathus shreds the guitar solo with a lowdown sound on the slide.

The album closes with “Detroit House Party”, an uptempo song that is sure to get you stomping your feet. More than that, when you hear this, you realize not only that this is the perfect song for a house party, but also that Left Lane Cruiser is the perfect band for such an occasion. You might feel a little worn out after listening to this rocker, but it definitely leaves you wanting more.

This album is ten songs of foot-stomping, fist-pumping punk blues. The more you listen to it, the more surprising it is that the sound is produced by only two people. More to the point, when you hear Freddy J IV play guitar, it’s hard to imagine that all of that sound can be produced by just one person. Shake and Bake will be available everywhere on May 31.  

photo credit: Joel Faurote

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