A while back, a friend and I started discussing under appreciated music.  It’s music that didn’t reach enough ears because it was not promoted very well.  Sure, there are great albums by great artists that every one is seemingly aware of.  But then how about albums that just flew under the radar?  Music that everyone should know, and yet few people do.  The kind of stuff you’re missing out on, if you’re not aware of it.

 Which brings us to Richie Sambora’s debut solo album released in 1991. 

Stranger In This Town

 

 Stranger In This Town is heavily Blues influenced Rock and Roll. This Album does not sound like anything like Bon Jovi.  If that’s what you’re looking for, you’ll be disappointed.  A lot of blues influenced guitar work infused with Richie’s guttural voice drive what is a memorable album filled with well-written songs. 

 They’re not the type of songs to receive radio airtime to begin with, and to make matters worse; the timing of the album was terrible.  The 90s provided very limited variety: It was either the clichéd depressed suicidal manic grunge rockers (anyone else wish more of these grunge pricks had killed themselves BEFORE releasing their albums?)… Either that or every lowlife who could rhyme would put out a record.

 Stranger In This Town has a universal emotional appeal to it. The album is at times, reflective, introspective, and it’s also descriptive of the human experiences.

 It’s more reminiscent of a singer/songwriter album than hard rock or pop music.  Like most singer/songwriter type of music, it’s referential to the human experience and enables listeners of various backgrounds to be able to relate to it on their own level.   It’s relevant to the emotions people share in common.

 Listening to this album, you can’t help but get the feeling that you’re listening to an artist wearing his heart on his sleeve, putting his soul into the music that flows out of his guitar.  The songs come in various moods, inspirational, empathetic, and in some cases, sheer sadness.

 From the melancholy title track, Stranger in This Town, to the gut wrenching Father Time to an ode to coming of age and Wisdom gained in Ballad Of Youth to the ultra passionate plea to clinging on to hope in One Light Burning, Richie delves deep into exploring a variety of stages of a person’s psyche. 

 There is tribute to one of his influences, Eric Clapton, in Mr. Blues Man in which Clapton plays a solo.  And just for kicks, he throws in the song, Rosie, which very much has that late 80s Bon Jovi sound, strong hooks, power cords and more power cords, catchy chants and back up vocals on choruses, along with the beloved mandatory guitar solo. 

 Anyhow, you owe it to yourself to get a copy of this album.  Here is one of the songs, titled, Stranger in This Town.  Blues influenced Rock, guttural vocals, and clean guitar work to drive the melancholy mood that somehow results catharsis through music.

Enjoy, and if you have similar albums, (unknown and unrecognized quality work by well known artists), feel free to post them in the comments sections.

Cameron