Big Al Anderson – After Hours

After Hours

This is the first solo album by the former lead guitarist for NRBQ in almost a decade, and he uses it to cover lots of ground.

Anderson writes good ballads that fall between jazz and nightclub tunes. “Love Makes a Fool of Me” is one; its changes and laid-back vocal are highlighted by fine fills. There’s also very nice jazzy steel guitar from Paul Franklin, who makes an appearance on several tunes. “Two Survivors” is similar, with a great lyric about love and fine jazz comping by Anderson. Between those cuts there are songs that could easily make their way to the country charts if a popular artist would cover them. “It’s Only Natural” is one example, driven by the dobro of Russ Pahl. “Trip Around the Sun” is about the wonders of life, with fine guitar help from Bryan Sutton. The gospel of “Right On Time” is a nod to soul music and features one of the album’s best solos, on acoustic.

More flavor comes from backup vocals by Bekka Bramlett and Crystal Talifero. And just for fun is a great western swing tune, “Blues About You Baby,” which sounds like a number the “Q” could’ve jammed.

Anderson’s work in NRBQ solidified his ability and reputation as a player, but here he showcases his songwriting, and it’s easy to see why other artists value that enough to record his songs. There’s plenty of guitar to go around, but the song’s the thing on After Hours.

This article originally appeared in VG‘s Aug. ’06 issue. All copyrights are by the author and Vintage Guitar magazine. Unauthorized replication or use is strictly prohibited.

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