Guitarist/singer/songwriter Barry Lee Harwood might not be a household name to some, but to serious Southern Rock aficionados, he will always be remembered as one of the musicians that helped a few of the surviving members of Lynyrd Skynyrd move on after that tragic plane crash back in 1977. Harwood, along with Gary Rossington, Allen Collins, Billy Powell, Leon Wilkeson, Dale Krantz, and Derek Hess formed The Rossington-Collins Band in 1979, and had a run of two successful albums before disbanding in 1982. Harwood then went on with Allen Collins for a brief spell in the Allen Collins Band. Now, many years later, he's resurfaced with a brand new solo album, titled The Southern Part of Heaven.
If you talk to anyone who was a fan of the RCB or the ACB, they'll be the first to tell you how important Harwood was to both bands, and listening to this new CD you can certainly see why. This guy is still a major talent, possessing formidable guitar skills and a damn fine vocalist as well. Whether it's blistering, guitar heavy Southern Rock on "No Regrets", twangy country rock complete with mandolin, acoustic, and electric guitars on "Between Me & My Dreams", Marshall Tucker Band styled bluesy Southern fried rock as heard on "Come the Mornin", or tasty, virtuoso bluegrass tinged rock such as "Rocky Top Flyer", there's exciting music to be heard around every corner. Harwood's excellent acoustic guitar skills are on display on the challenging instrumental "Somet Eagle", and he delivers some catchy, Southern Rock 'n' funk with the irresistable sounds of "Workin On My Story", complete with some sizzling organ and melodic guitar solos. There's a Christian theme to some of the songs on the CD, but Harwood thankfully doesn't go oeverboard with it.
The Southern Part of Heaven is a welcome release for the summer of 2010, and signals the return of a Southern Rock player who, quite frankly, has been away from the spotlight for too long. Welcome back Barry Lee!
1. No Regrets 3:31
2. Swing Low Sweet Chariot 6:55
3. Laid Back In the South 4:24
4. Sad To Be Cryin 4:36
5. Between Me & My Dreams 5:28
6. Come the Mornin 7:55
7. Rocky Top Flyer 4:21
8. Somet Eagle 3:17
9. I Am That I Am 2:47
10. Anywhere a Train Can Go 6:10
11. Workin On My Story 6:12