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Bridger: Bridger

With the band Head East being more of a live beast than a recording act these days, it should come as little surprise that a few of their number should venture into the studio under a different guise to put together an album of new material. The Bridger in question here is current Head East guitarist Glenn Bridger, who is ably assisted by his band mate Greg Manahan on bass, with the band's drummer Eddy Jones also making a quick cameo appearance. It would be fair to expect this debut self titled album to also follow in the same musical footsteps as Head East and while there is the odd moment of AOR in evidence here, the super slick approach of their main band is more often replaced a slightly grittier, bluesy feel. What also adds more interest to the Bridger cause is the inclusion of XYZ and sometime Great White vocalist Terry Ilous, with the group line up being completed by Sam McCaskin (Michael Schenker/Carmine Appice) on keyboards and the oddly named Danzoid handling drums.

The choice of Ilous to front this music is inspired, with his easy going style being perfect for the mainly laid back vibe presented here and whether Bridger decide to keep things bluesy, add an AOR edge or inject a little more urgency, Ilous matches them step for step, sounding comfortable and assured throughout. It is no surprise then that he has been helping Great White out while Jack Russell recovers from health issues and in fact in terms of style that band are also a good reference point for where Bridger are headed. This however is no copycat act, with a little edge of Cheap Trick quirk and Mr Big sass allowing Bridger to stretch out in the own way. "Tuesday Afternoon", "Without A Sound" and "Good To Be Home" are wonderfully bluesy rock workouts and it would be easy to imagine someone like Allanah Myles laying down her thick vocals on them, although the likes of Enuff Z'Nuff are also brought to mind. The more rocked up, even punky side to the band shines through on "How Long", while the slower number "Once In A Lifetime" and the acoustic "Free" being simply sublime, taking things into a more Strangeways/Terry Brock direction and in truth also significantly uping the quality on show here. Surprisingly with what has come before the album ends with a tribute to the much missed Ronnie James Dio, with an excellent reworking of Black Sabbath's "Heaven And Hell". It may not be the most obvious choice for an outfit like this, but the added keyboards and a more industrial beat adds a new and rather interesting aspect to a classic song. Heavy and melodic in equal measures, this is a bold version of a song that also allows Ilous to shine in a completely different light to the rest of the album, making for a very worthy inclusion.

With a stellar production job from JK Northrup, who also appears on guitar, as well as a guest slot from Larry Hart (Montrose/King Kobra), Bridger have come up with a classy debut album that shows a lot of promise. For those who like their melodic rock on a bluesier more mature footing this is well worth checking out.

Track Listing
1. Tuesday Afternoon
2. How Long
3. On The Ledge
4. Don't Push Me
5. Without A Sound
6. Free
7. Live For The Moment
8. Good To Be Home
9. Gonna Get Better
10. Once In A Lifetime
11. Heaven And Hell (Tribute To Ronnie James Dio)

Added: August 6th 2011
Reviewer: Steven Reid
Related Link: Escape Music
Hits: 2356
Language: english

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