Lynyrd Skynyrd, or at least the group of musicians currently using the name made famous in classic rock circles back in the mid- 1970’s, have a new album titled Last of a Dyin’ Breed out this week. The current lineup features one original member (Gary Rossington on guitar) and singer Johnny Van Zant, little brother of founding member and original lead singer Ronnie who died in the infamous plane crash of 1977. Filling out the current lineup is a host of well-accomplished session and touring musicians as well as former Marilyn Manson guitarist John 5 and original Black Crowes bassist Johnny Colt.
Find out if Last Of A Dyin’ Breed is worth hearing after the jump!
The result is an album that sounds like a pretty generic southern/hard rock band. The essence of that ‘70’s Skynyrd sound is missing. The riffing on new tracks like “Nothing Comes Easy” and “Homegrown” are more Nickelback than Allman Brothers and I don’t hear any of the boogie-woogie or Dixieland piano playing that the late Billy Powell brought to the band. Back in 1993, BBP Editor-in-Chief Andy Burns and I saw Skynyrd live and going back 20 years it felt like this was more of a tribute or cover band.
The title track is the closest thing to the classic Skynyrd sound with big slide guitar leads and stories of open highways, one horse towns and one night stands setting the tone for the album. Johnny Van Zant makes a number of references to his older brother Ronnie throughout the album. He sings, “A barefoot brother who gave me hell, I fearned from the best who taught me well” on the title track and “Good Teacher” is all about Ronnie’s influence.
I do think the album will play well in middle America and with a polarizing election ahead for our friends south of the border, look for tracks from Last of a Dyin’ Breed to find their way into Republican/Tea Party ads and to GOP events from now until November.