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Lynyrd Skynyrd: Last of a Dyin' Breed

Listening to the opening raunch of Gary Rossington's slide guitar on the title track of Last of a Dyin' Breed, Lynyrd Skynyrd's follow-up to 2009's Gods & Guns, it seems as if the legendary Southern Rock act has decided to kick things up a notch and go for a harder rock sound this time around and leave some of the more pop and country leanings on that previous release behind. With a revamped line-up that includes sole founding member Rossington (guitar), longtime bandmates Johnny Van Zant (vocals) , Rickey Medlocke (guitar), and drummer Michael Cartellone, plus new recruits bassist Johnny Colt (Black Crowes, Train) guitarist Mark "Sparky" Matejka, and keyboardist Peter Keys, the band are once again looking to keep the Skynyrd flag alive and rocking.

For the most part, Last of a Dyin' Breed is a much heavier album than Gods & Guns, as that release had more of a pop & country flavor to many of the songs, while Southern fried hard rock & boogie is the name of the game here. Along with the already mentioned killer title track, tunes such as "Good Teacher", "Homegrown", "One Day at a Time" and the slow burn of "Life's Twisted" are all plenty rockin', fueled by Skynyrd's three guitar army of Rossington, Medlocke, and Matejka, with Van Zandt's beer soaked vocals adding the right amount of melody and raunch. Add in Keys' swirling Hammond organ on the bruising "Nothing Comes Easy" and the bottleneck slide on the acoustic "Start Livin' Life Again", and you have some splendid songs here that remind of vintage Skynyrd. Of course, for the ballad lovers the band have delivered the catchy "Ready to Fly" and "Something to Live For", as well as the memorable "Honey Hole". And, if you want to plunk down the extra few dollars for the deluxe edition, you get four extra tunes, and each one is a sizzling guitar fueled rocker. "Poor Man's Dream" has all those trademark Lynyrd Skynyrd guitar heroics and some powerful vocals from Johnny, "Do It Right" is fine boogie with slide guitar and honky tonk piano, "Sad Song" is smoldering, gut wrenching heavy blues rock, and closer "Low Down Dirty" is 'down & dirty' Southern fried heavy metal, complete with some ferocious guitar riffs. The lyrics on most songs are your typical Skynyrd fare about American values, Southern women, booze, etc., but if you are expecting super intelligent songwriting about important world events you wouldn't be listening to these guys now would you?

Though both backing singers Dale Krantz-Rossington & Carol Chase are pictured on the CD booklet, it's hard to tell if they contributed anything to the album (though you can barely hear some of what might be their backing vocals in spots it seems), but the reality is this is a pretty kickin' album that's all about JVZ's fiery vocals and the guitar thunder from Rossington, Medlocke, and Matejka. Though many veteran rock bands rarely record new music and instead go out on the road each year playing their nostalgia act, Lynyrd Skynyrd continue to deliver new music to the fans, showing that they are more than just a trip down memory lane. With only Rossington left from the original band, it might not be enough for the purists, but as a viable Southern Rock band in 2012, they still have what it takes.

Track Listing
1. Last Of A Dyin' Breed 3:51
2. One Day At A Time 3:46
3. Homegrown 3:41
4. Ready To Fly 5:26
5. Mississippi Blood 2:57
6. Good Teacher 3:07
7. Something To Live For 4:29
8. Life's Twisted 4:33
9. Nothing Comes Easy 4:13
10. Honey Hole 4:35
11. Start Livin' Life Again 4:23
Deluxe Edition Bonus Tracks
12. Poor Man's Dream
13. Do It Up Right
14. Sad Song
15. Low Down Dirty

Added: September 5th 2012
Reviewer: Pete Pardo
Related Link: Band Website
Hits: 2465
Language: english

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