Perhaps Eric Clapton does think of himself as a “journeyman.” The truth of the matter is that he has, practically from day one, been a front man. Robbie McIntosh, on the other hand, has actually made a career of being the guy behind the stars, a real journeyman. Working with Paul McCartney and the Pretenders, McIntosh confirmed his credentials as a top-flight backup man.
Widescreen proves that his career has been by choice, not necessity. He can write songs and play on a level equal to any platinum producing pop star.
Widescreen features 12 songs, all original McIntosh compositions. Guest vocals by a slew of folks including Chrissie Hynde, Lucy Watkins, Rick Hammond, Drew Barfield, Jamie Moses, and Paul Young spice up the CD. Alison Brown’s Banjo, Stephen Darrell Smith’s keyboards, Peter Hope-Evan’s Jew’s harp, and Barry West’s bass augment a core band made up of Mark Feltham on harmonica, Melvin Duffy on pedal steel, and Paul Bevis on drums and percussion.
What’s most attractive about Widescreen is that it’s made by an adult for other adults. This is mature music that contains drive and backbone. I’m quite fond of the lines “It’s only gravity that makes me heavy. It’s only gravity that makes me sad. Got to lighten up and be happy. Gravity will drive me mad.”
Along with his lyrical sophistication, McIntosh includes enough guitar hooks and hot solos to keep even a septuagenarian chair-dancing. The sonics are clean without sounding processed; clear but not soullessly slick.
If, periodically, you find yourself wishing there was more high-quality rock created for those who have seen the far side of 30, give Robbie McIntosh a listen. He may be right up your alley.
This article originally appeared in VG‘s Sep. ’01 issue. All copyrights are by the author and Vintage Guitar magazine. Unauthorized replication or use is strictly prohibited.