Red Zone Rider - self-titled
Kelly Keeling - vocals, fretless bass, organ (Baton Rouge, MSG, Trans-Siberian Orchestra)
Vinnie Moore - all guitars (Solo Artist, Alice Cooper, UFO)
Scot Coogan - Scot Coogan - drums (Lita Ford, Ace Frehley, Brides Of Destruction)
1.) "Hell No" - The opening guitar riff of this intro came out of just the right speaker. The blues riff that Vinnie opens the song with is intensified with the use of a slide. There was a musical rest underneath Kelly's opening lyric line. This opening lyric line opened and closed with a vocal accent. The vocal accent that ended this lyric line was a signature vocal accent Steven Tyler of Aerosmith has made famous. After the ending vocal accent, the three members kick the musical verse in. The way the guys wrote the musical verse consisted of a modern Led Zeppelin sound. The musical arrangements of the verse are placed in between the lyric lines. The last musical note in between each lyric line was held running throughout each lyric line. There was a very simple arrangement change for the musical chorus. The way the lead vocal lines in between the backing harmonies were recorded sounded like they were coming out of just the left speaker than just the right speaker than left again. However, they were not recorded that way they just sounded like it. I do not know how the guys were able to do this because it was the exact same arrangement for the second verse. However, for the second verse the arrangement switches from a Led Zeppelin feel to more of an early eighties Sammy Hagar sound. After the second chorus there was a small musical breakdown that consisted of a minor lead guitar solo. This lead guitar solo opens as a minor lead guitar solo however, as it progressed it slowly turned into the major lead guitar solo. The solo Vinnie wrote for this song may be one of the best I think he has ever written. As the solo progressed, Vinnie slowly makes it more and more intense. Kelly sings a couple lead vocal accents over the top of the last few notes of the lead guitar solo. For the third verse the song once again takes on a modern Led Zeppelin sound. After the fourth chorus Vinnie plays a second lead guitar solo. Though this was a minor lead guitar solo it was just as intense as the first. It just was not as long.
2.) "By The Rainbows End" - This intro opens with Scot playing a couple fills on his snare and bass drum. Kelly turned his bass up on the intro giving the musical intro a very heavy feel. Vinnie played four lead guitar licks before going into the minor lead guitar solo over the top of the intro arrangement. This musical intro reminded me of many of the musical intros Glenn Hughes has been writing as of late. There was an arrangement change underneath the opening lyric line of the musical verse. Vinnie plays a minor lead guitar solo to connect each lyric line of the verses together. Scot plays a small tom-tom fill to connect the musical verse with the musical chorus. There was a minor lead guitar solo connecting the first chorus with the second verse. To connect the second chorus with the breakdown section there was a short musical arrangement where both Vinnie and Kelly are playing the same notes on guitar and bass. Kelly has a small vocal accent over the last few notes of this section. His vocal notes follow along with what the rhythm guitar and bass are playing. This song consisted of another amazing lead guitar solo by Vinnie. Vinnie plays a minor lead guitar solo that runs underneath the lead vocal lines of the third and fourth choruses of the coda.
3.) "House Of Light" - This ballad opened with a very short tom-tom fill before going into a minor lead guitar solo. Kelly sings several vocal accents over the top of Vinnie's minor lead guitar solo. Underneath the solo Scot plays several cymbal accents. After the minor solo the main body of the intro kicks-in. The main body of the intro consisted of a basic rhythm guitar riff over the top of a tom-tom pattern. After the musical intro the song goes into the chorus instead of the verse. For the musical chorus of this song Vinnie overdubbed two different rhythm guitar arrangements. There not only is a rhythm arrangement change for the musical verse but also Scot switched from a tom-tom pattern to a standard hi-hat rhythm. Every now and then bleeding through the arrangement you can hear a simple organ arrangement. After the second chorus there was a lead guitar solo. The solo started out with a Jeff Beck feel then gradually sounded more like Steve Vai as it progressed.
4.) "Cloud Of Dreams" -This was an amazing blues influenced ballad.
5.) "Save It" -This intro opened with a drum rhythm underneath Kelly playing a whole-note on the organ. The rhythm guitar along with the drum line of the musical verse was very reminiscent to a lot of the things Jimi Hendrix was writing. The organ arrangement Kelly played on the musical intro gave the song a more full sound. As a fan of this style of music I instantly feel in love with the musical verse. Kelly sings a few vocal accents over the top of the opening musical verse. There was a very smooth connection between the musical verse and chorus. After the first chorus. There was a small musical arrangement connecting the chorus with the lead guitar solo. Over the top of this section Kelly sings several vocal accents. For the lead guitar solo Vinnie started it out in the style of Hendrix than about halfway through he switched to more along the lines of sounding like himself. After the third chorus there was a second lead guitar solo. This solo was more intense than the first one.
6.) "Never Trust A Woman" - This track opens with a single rhythm guitar arrangement. The guitar sound Vinnie chose for this song gave it an early Nazareth sound. After about one measure the main body of the intro kicks-in. Vinnie used the same rhythm guitar arrangement for this section of the intro as the one that opened the song. There was a minor lead guitar solo over the top of this portion of the intro. The minor solo runs underneath lyric lines and throughout the verse. The effects pedal Vinnie used gave his solo an almost harmonica sound. There are times when Kelly is singing that really shows his vocal ability. There was a lead guitar solo after the second chorus.
7.) "Obvious" -This track opens with the band talking underneath Scot hitting his sticks together to count the band in. Though it has very simple riffs the way the guys recorded the intro for this track gave it a very heavy sound. Vinnie plays a short minor lead guitar solo to connect the musical intro with the musical verse. There was an arrangement change for the musical verse. This arrangement change slowed the song down into a ballad. Kelly's lyric lines of this track reminded me of the stuff he wrote for Michael Schenker on MSG's 'Unforgivin' CD, released on February 11, 1999. Scattered throughout the verse underneath the lyric lines Vinnie plays small little lead licks. These little lead licks sounded very similar to Schenker. The choruses had very huge hooks attached to them. The lead guitar solo connected the second chorus with the third chorus. Musically and vocally, this was a very simple song that really showcases the three members talent. Vinnie's lead guitar solo work on this song was amazing!!!!
8.) "The Hand That Feeds You" - This intro opens with a snare drum fill. After the snare fill the entire band kicks-in with a shuffle blues arrangement. There was a small tom-tom fill and a couple cymbal crashes connecting the musical intro with the musical verse. However, there is a rhythm arrangement change for the musical verse the guys still use a shuffle pattern as the main arrangement. Kelly's vocals for the lyrical verse sounded a lot like early Ian Gillan. For the pre-chorus Scot switched to a tom-tom pattern for the drum line. There was a tom-tom fill connecting the musical pre-chorus with the chorus. When Scot plays this fill Kelly played the same notes on his bass. From beginning to end this was an absolutely mean sounding song! The lead guitar solo connected the second chorus with the third chorus. There was a second lead guitar solo after the third chorus section.
9.) "Hit The Road" - As a musician the blues/funk feel of this track made it one hell of a song and one of my favorites on the release!
10.) "There's A Knowing" - This track is nothing but cool!!!!!
11.) "Counts 77" - Vinnie double-tracked his rhythm guitar riff at the end of this intro section. At the end of the musical intro Kelly counts the band in. There was a rhythm arrangement change for the musical verse. As soon as the rhythm change of the musical verse takes effect you can tell Deep Purple had an influence on the writing of this song. The lyrical chorus had a huge hook attached to it. There were a couple lead guitar licks connecting the first chorus with the second verse. Vinnie's lead guitar solo was after the second chorus. The choruses had very sweet hooks attached to them.
First off, is Red Zone Rider a super group? I guess that question could be debatable. It all depends on how big of a classic rock and hard rock fan you are. Therefore, I try to be realistic. I know most general rock fans out there have no clue who Kelly Keeling, Vinnie Moore or Scot Coogan are. However, I know who they are and I know you have one of the greatest songwriters in Kelly Keeling, one of the most underrated guitarist in Vinnie Moore and one hell of a drummer drummer Scot Coogan who has played with Nikki Sixx (Mötley Crüe), Ace Frehley (KISS) and Stephen Pearcy (Ratt). This makes Red Zone Rider not only a super group however the ultimate super group. The trio work so well together if you did not know this was their freshman release you could argue that they have been together for years. One of the biggest reasons all these songs work so well is because there are absolutely no ego issues. The other is just plain great musicianship!
Are the songs on this release the best songs Kelly has written in his twenty-four years in the music business? Not by a long shot, however, the eleven tracks on this CD are some of the greatest songs he has ever sung! I do not think I have ever heard him sound better!! As for Vinnie, I have been a fan of his since 1988 when I heard his instrumental version of George Harrison's "While My Guitar Gently Weeps" on his release titled, 'Time Odyssey' released the same year. He is in his prime and his guitar work on this was some of the best, if not his best, I have ever heard him play!!!! Kelly and Vinnie made Scot's job easy. All he had to do was find the groove and stay in the pocket. With that said, Scot is a better drummer than I feel most people give him credit.
There absolutely is not a bad song on the CD. It is one of those releases you will be able to put in your CD player hit play and walk away listening to it from beginning to end. I have no doubt this release will be on Blast Magazine's "Top Five CD's of the Year". This is an essential release for all rock and roll fans!