Album Review:  Foghat - Under The Influence By Linda Garnett



Foghat's fan-funded ‘Under The Influence’ album is a surprising departure from their last, the robust Blues/Rock ‘Last Train Home’ in 2010.  Three years in the making, the current album is an eclectic brew of musical styles ranging from Blues/Rock, Rock, Boogie, and Southern Rock, to a cover of a Rock and Roll classic with a remake added into the mix.

Out of the gate is the title track that delivers a one-two punch. The band comes out swinging with a tight delivery and a gritty vocal that snaps you to attention. The killer guitar solo is just the icing on the cake. You might find this song is one you can’t get out of your head.  

Nipping at the heels of the first track is the robust, kick-ass rocker, Knock It Off. This in your face song is done in classic rock style with a loud, hard driving rhythm that will have you head banging right away. The guitar solo is downright feisty and the vocals growl. Crank this one way up and let the neighbors know you have great taste in music.

After rocking you out senseless, the album then takes a 360 degree turn and breaks out a clever Southern Rock flavored song, Ghost. Bryan Bassett’s haunting slide guitar and Charlie Huhn’s gravelly vocal conspire together to spin the tale of a bootlegger being pursued by the ghost of his long lost love. Keep this one for those ghost story nights around the campfire.

Other stand out tracks include the Blues/Rock/Boogie Made Up My Mind and the pure rocker, Heart Gone Cold. The first one is an upbeat, incredibly high energy number delivered tight and in the groove. This one will make you get up and dance or at least get your foot tapping.

The second is a radio ready song that puts out a truly pure rock vocal and delivery. The cover of Heard It Through The Grapevine is an example of taking a classic rock and roll song and christening it with the Foghat influence. The song is executed superbly as a duet by Dana Fuchs (singer/actress/Dana Fuchs Band) and Scott Holt. Fuchs’ deep soulful vocals owns a rawness that compliments Holt’s.     

Up Side of Lonely, Honey Do List, and She’s Got A Ring In His Nose are lyrically funny and clever while adding some fun into the album.  Hot Mama and All Because of You round out the 12 track list.

Saving the best for last, is a remake of Slow Ride. Some say you can’t improve on something that is already the best, but this remake shatters that theory. This updated version of the song is more solid, fresher, and stronger. It proves from the opening drum beats that it kicks ass against the original. The band really digs in and executes with energy and strength. Charlie Huhn’s robust rocker vocals pull you in and don’t let go. Also notable is the build up at the end of the song. The last 20 seconds or so is ramped up and leads to a killer guitar solo that’s a fast train steroids.

Overall, this studio album is a musical journey into the landscape of influential genres and styles that Foghat brings to the fans successfully.      

Highly Recommended. Under The Influence is definitely an album you want to party with. Run, don’t walk to get yourself a copy.