American Rocker is the 6th solo album from former Blue Oyster Cult member Joe Bouchard. Over the past 15 years Joe has been a prolific songwriter, delivering albums regularly, each with new themes and cool tracks, including those fine tunes that Blue Oyster Cult fans can imagine as gems that would’ve fit well on classic BOC albums. Songs here are written with Joe’s past in mind with Joe stating in the liner notes – “American Rocker is a musical reflection of my life as a rock star. I feel lucky to live a life in music, and to be fulfilling my wildest dreams.” The stand out single here is “In The Golden Age”, which tells of the great times being in a major band during rock’s golden era, while “Hey There Suzi Dear” is a fun upbeat track (and album closer) that revisits one of the characters from BOC’s classic “Astronomy”!
Over his solo career Joe has definitely created his own sound, and it’s those acoustic based dreamy and sometimes haunting melodies and tunes that stand out like the ballad “Deadly Kisses”, “The Devil’s In The Details”, “Off Season Hotel”, and the catchy pop track “Katherine” – all sound great for a summer’s day. Love the production and various instruments used throughout this album, while Mickey Curry plays drums throughout, there are some awesome productions, such as with “Off Season Hotel” which also features John Jorgenson on flamenco guitar, Albert Bouchard on bongos & rhythm guitar, and Joe adding various keyboards, guitars, bass…. Albert appears on a few tracks, also notably the rockin’ “Love Out Of Thin Air” – adding temple bells, triangle and rhythm guitar, Joan Levy Hepburn adding backing vocals here [as well as a few others], and Joe creatively adding organ, piano, cornet, and finger snaps, all making for a great mix of one of the album’s best here.
There is a lot to dig in to here, 11 tracks, lots of different instrumentation [Joe also using mandolin, slide guitar and trumpet on occasion], some great stories in the lyrics, and a great mix of sound and songs. I probably said this with Strange Legends, but THIS is the best thing Joe’s done since he started making solo albums. Cool packaging with various images from Joe’s past, including the cover.