Thursday, January 31, 2019
Tug of War Pulls You In With Quality Songwriting and Musicianship
BK Morrison, Lead Vocals.
Tommy Denander: Electric and Acoustic Guitars and Keys.
Brian Anthony, Bass Guitar.
Billy Orrico, Drums.
Guest musicians include Bill Champlin, Chris Ousey and Joe Williams.
Tug of War is an old school AOR project. It's rock that you can listen to from start to finish. It's soulful and melodic. It borrows from things you know as it paves it's own road. Producer, arranger and all around fine musician, Tommy Denander is the mastermind behind the writing and Khalil Turk oversees production with input from BK Morrison who prior to Soulfire was a relatively unknown quantity. But Morrison is a brilliant singer who is a cross between Frankie Miller, Max Carl and Bob Carlisle. His voice and his delivery have a certain been there done that swagger.
"Before I Will Know" is the first single from this collection and is an instant classic, borrowing from The Doobie Brothers, 38 Special and possibly Toto. "Bullet With Your Name On It" is a rocker of the first order with a giant hook and a familiar sounding chorus. Tommy Denander's production skills bring a level of quality here that is absent from many projects with more well known personnel. "Come Home" reminds me of the old west motif often employed by Bad Company. It settles into a late night driving groove. Lyrically it's a plea for love to return home. There are some well placed keyboard flourishes throughout this album. The Denander guitar solos are all epic and complementary, taking the listener on a cosmic journey.
I think I can hear Chris Ousey (Virginia Wolf, Snakecharmer, Heartland) singing harmony vocals on "Confess To Your Demons". It leads off with a great jangly riff from Denander, and showcases the aforementioned bravado of Morrison who sings like a seasoned rock and roller. "Fade To Black" is one of the more edgy rocking tracks on the collection with help from Ousey and Billy Orrico's pounding back beat. Tommy Denander furnishes another one of a kind guitar riff.
"I Won't Surrender" is a mid-tempo rocker with a great chorus. The hit song potential on this record is literally everywhere. "Have Mercy" starts with a strong keyboard part followed by a sparse musical landscape. The lyrics are emotional and spiritual as the character in the song seems to be at the end of his rope. "My Soul Is A Ghost Town" finds Morrison singing a bit like David Coverdale in this slow burner that gets hotter as it moves along. "On The Other Side" is a power pop rocker with strong backing vocals and more excellent songwriting.
"Somewhere In The Night" has a real laid back, west coast vibe. The musical versatility on this project is very impressive. "Walk It Like A Man" features some bright keyboards and nods again to the west coast. The most provocative song is the last track. It's called "Full of Sh*t". The story line draws you in and the hook is gigantic. A breakup song of Biblical proportions. Denander writes a hook that will make you hear the punch line in your consciousness long after the CD door pops open.
This album has so many great songs. There are no throwaways. The production shines and BK Morrison is a force on the mic. The only thing needed is some radio airplay. This is a 5 star hurricane of classic rock with some of the finest production you'll hear on any album anywhere.