When Butch Walker isn’t busy writing songs for Taylor Swift, Brian Fallon or Frank Turner or producing albums for pretty much everyone else you listen to, he likes to crank out the occasional solo album. Like “Stay Gold”. Well, not exactly like “Stay Gold”. His latest studio album isn’t quite as folky, poppy or balls-to-the wall rocking as some of his previous releases. And yet at the same time it’s all of the above.
I don’t know if it can simply be traced back to producing Brian Fallon’s solo album, “Painkillers”. But a similar vibe permeates the ten songs that make up “Stay Gold”. Check out the opening track (also the title track) and you will know what I mean right away.
It’s no secret that Fallon is heavily indebted to both Bruce Springsteen and Tom Petty. The same can be said for Walker. Check “East Coast Girl”, which sounds like a collaboration between those two icons. More traces of Springsteen can be heard in “Wilder In The Heart”. And the songs just keep on coming, referencing even more Americana icons along the way. Mellencamp is another name that comes to mind.
While all of these tracks come with a sense of instant familiarity as a result, it is much to Walker’s credit that he makes everything sound fresh again. Well, there’s that and the fact that “Ludlow Expectations”, “Mexican Coke” and “Spark Lose” are just damn good rock ‘n roll songs that come straight from the heartland.