2019 Max Height Records
In 2015 the question was asked, “Who the Hell is Clay Howard?” In 2019, Clay Howard answers back that he “doesn’t know who you are either…”
Honestly, rock and roll doesn’t get more straightforward than this. With the influences of Cheap Trick Hall & Oates and Rick Springfield, North Carolina’s Howard brings you ten great tracks that will surely delight long-time fans and new listeners.
The album kicks off with the appropriately titled, “Kicking the Stars.” With killer guitars and Howard’s signature powerful vocals, we are off to a great start. The single “I Got Nothing” is up next with an INXS vibe that harkens back to 1987’s “Need You Tonight.”
The tracks “She” and “Running Back Again” are bona fide hits with great crossover appeal. They could easily find a home on both country and rock radio. The slide guitar on “She” echoes what are some of Howard’s best vocals to date. With “Running Back Again,” Howard takes us back to that great late 1990’s pop feel with a melody that would make Rob Thomas jealous.
The rock guitars return with a vengeance on “Travis and Rachel” with a modern-day Cheap Trick sound that I find myself blasting in the car. “Getting Closer (Won’t Be Long)”continues this trend as the album kicks into overdrive.
Closing out the album is “Never (Thinking About Love).” This is a track that is better heard than described. There are multiple parts to this journey and it is well worth the journey.
There is a lot to enjoy on Clay Howard’s latest release, and I strongly recommend that you listen at high volume.
Adam A Waltemire
Pop Garden Radio