About four years ago, a band from Seattle came on to the scene and brought with them rock and blues. Along with the Seattle gloom, Walking Papers used a more bluesy approach to stand out from others. It was truly a very welcoming sound that kept listeners engaged and gave something more to the rock world. The band is comprised of singer/guitarist Jeff Angell, drummer Barrett Martin (who you might know from Screaming Trees and Mad Season), keyboardist Benjamin Anderson and bassist Duff McKagen (from a little known band called Guns n Roses). The four of them released their self titled debut album back in 2012 and it was quite awesome. The album also features the very underrated Mike McCreedy of Pearl Jam on a couple songs. Mike is also known to make guest appearances on stage with the band as their lead guitar player. Songs like “Already Dead,” “The Whole World’s Watching,” “Red Envelopes,” “Capital T,” and “The Butcher,” are absolute stand outs from their album. Live, the band is quite the spectacle. They really hone in on their roots and summon the spirits of the past bringing the rock n blues every time along with some swagger.
After some time away, Walking Papers are getting ready to release their second album in 2018. I personally can’t wait for this album. I’ve been hoping for a long time that we would get to have a second album from them. Jeff Angell has mentioned that on this record “It perfectly captures the raw, explosive energy of a band primed from extensive touring while at the same time achieving the polish and elevation that comes from experimenting in the studio.” You can pre-order the new album HERE. I highly recommend you doing so as well as checking out their debut!
When you hear an album in its entirety it can change your life, set a mood, inspire and set you free. There are so many great albums that can do all that was mentioned. One that has always stood out with me since I first heard it many many years ago was Mad Season’s album Above. Comprised of Layne Staley (Vocals), Mike McCreedy (Guitars), Barrett Martin (Drums) and John Baker Sanders (Bass), there is not one thing that is wrong with this album. The performances are perfect. Musically it verges on blues and etherial bounds and reaches far beyond what anyone thought it would be. Vocally the honesty and melodies stay with you for eternity. Kicking off the album is “Wake Up” a sincere inner look at what Layne was going through and struggling with. The lyrics so personal and painful yet connects as a powerful message to anyone listening. “X-Ray Mind” has an amazing tribal drum intro that goes right into a sweeping bluesy riff that segways into a the crooning Staley’s distinctive voice. “River Of Deceit” is another song that is brilliant and is deep and personal. The way Layne sings, you the listener really can feel everything he is saying and the chills you get it unmistakable. “I’m Above” starts with a sweet mellowness that kicks into high gear with a crunchy blues riff, complimented by steady and sultry bass lines that are found on the entire record. “Artificial Red” is a simple blues song that has a sweet groove to it. “Lifeless Dead” and “I Don’t Know Anything” hit right away with another awesome dirty blues riff the is mixed with a drum beat that is behind the beat and a bass line that guides the song with powerful rhythm. “Long Gone Day” features Mark Lanegan on guest vocals. Mark and Layne have a perfect vocal balance and the pseudo duet is very haunting. The music behind the song is mellow and psychedelic, that send you on a deeper journey into your own mind. Closing out the album is “All Alone” a song that ventures into the more ambient and sedated of all the tracks, that slowly fades out at the end.
Recently, Above was re-released with an accompanying live album and DVD that shows just how amazing they truly were. There were also 3 new tracks released with it that feature Mark Lanegan on vocals. Sadly Mad Season lasted only one album. Barrett Martin is now playing in an exceptional band called Walking Papers, and Mike McCreedy is still playing with Pearl Jam. Layne has passed away as well as the very talented John Baker Sanders. They might not be here anymore but, the great thing is that this music and album live on. I can honestly put this album in my top 25 records of all time.
If you’ve never experienced this album you’ve missed out!
1. Nine Inch Nails- Hesitation Marks
2. Alice In Chains- The Devil Out Dinosaurs Here
3. How To Destroy Angels- Welcome Oblivion
4. AFI- Burials
5. Killswitch Engage- Disarm The Descent
6. Walking Papers- Walking Papers
7. Palms- Palms
8. Black Sabbath- 13
9. Pearl Jam- Lightning Bolt
10. Korn- The Paradigm Shift
11. Sevendust- Black Out The Sun
12. Stone Sour- House Of Gold And Bones Part II
13. Placebo- Loud Like Love
14. The National- Trouble Will Find Me
15. Queens Of The Stone Age- Like Clockwork
16. Ghost- Infestissumam
17. Philip H. Anselmo- Walk Through Exits Only
18. The Bronx- The Bronx IV
19. Russian Circles- Memorial
20. Carcass- Surgical Steel
21. Mutoid Man-Helium Head
22. BoySetsFire- While A Nation Sleeps
23. Misery Signals- Absent Light
24. Pelican- Forever Becoming
25. Rob Zombie- Venomous Rat Regeneration Vendor