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Barry Goudreau's Engine Room - The Road (Self-Released)

4 July 2021

The guitarist Barry Goudreau needs little in the way of introduction. As a part of Boston, his guitar work blisters on that multi-million selling debut, and more so on the equally impressive Don’t Look Back. Whilst Boston took an extended hiatus for almost a decade, Barry kept himself extremely busy. Along with fellow Boston lead vocalist Brad Delp, he crafted a stunning debut album released in 1980. But the guitarist continued on projects throughout the eighties including the one-off Orion The Hunter (1984), and towards the close of that decade, Barry alongside Brad again formed Return To Zero. As the noughties dawned, the first collaboration proper by both musicians arrived in the album Delp And Goudreau (2003).  Following the tragic passing of Brad Delp in March 2007, Barry kept his mission statement alive. After the live dynamo of Ernie & The Automatic, the guitarist formed a new band, Barry Goudreau’s Engine Room.  With one release under the outfits belt, the praised Full Steam Ahead (2017), the Engine Room have released their sophomore album The Road, and it’s a record to buckle up with and enjoy the ride. 

On this album, Barry returns to his classic rock roots mixed with searing solos and chugging riffs. After a period of forty-five years since the Boston album, the artist continues to create an incendiary brand of stadium rock. This set kicks nicely into gear with the organ driven, guitar stuttering “Love Will Lead The Way”. It is a statement of intent, a wall of sound, and the backing of vocalists Joanie Cicatelli, MaryBeth Maes, and Terri O’Soro provide a soul-gospel background. Similarly “Las Vegas” explodes, granted the sound is anchored in the early eighties, and bound to this modern world, but it is the noise of freedom from a simpler time. The album rocks as it rolls out across it’s twelve tracks, and the momentum never shifts, the reflective “Word To The Wise” is a beautiful piece of music, and vocalist/producer Brian Maes soars with an honest passion. Whereas the harmonica opening “Old No. 7” is born out of the need to open up a Dodge Charger on an open highway. 

Throughout the album you will hear sounds of other rock bands from the late seventies onwards. That however is to be expected as Barry predates and in fact helped invent the sound of rock which has been copied. The Road throws up surprises throughout, with the slow burning “Shade” which stylishly out crows The Black Crowes. That is the talent on display here, apart from the addictive sound, the band are also capable of shifting methods effortlessly without straying too far from their roots. The blues stomping “Edge Of A Knife” burns with a slide guitar and vocals by the ladies this time adds an extra dynamic. That switches then into the attacking, start and stop motion of the cracking “The Camel’s Back”. It is all so slick, from the production to riffs it all blasts with a head shaking thunder. For guitar players there is an ocean of riffs to dive into, for example “What They Say” strides with some head scratching moments. Same too can be said for the tempo switch of the glorious title track (below). 

In truth this is an album that aches to be heard on stage, and a lot of it acts as a tribute to those packed out clubs and stadiums we yearn for. This is heard in the ‘lighter in the air’ “Come A Time”, but the closing “Love (Reprise) is a transcendent piece of progressive rock. It simply oozes with nostalgia, and for those of us of a certain age, we will be pulled back to our youth. Faithfully that completes an excellent piece of work, and proves a point that regardless of the politics of Boston, Barry Goudreau can stand on his own and create music that is inspiring, and hinged in pure rock and roll. 

1. Love Will Lead The Way
2. Las Vegas
3. Word To The Wise
4. Old No. 7
5. Shade
6. The Rhythm Won’t Stop
7. Edge Of A Knife
8. The Camel’s Back
9. What They Say
10. The Road
11. Come A Time
12. Love (Reprise)

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