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Billy F Gibbons (ZZ Top) - Hardware [Ltd Ed Translucent Orange Vinyl]

Billy F Gibbons (ZZ Top) - Hardware [Ltd Ed Translucent Orange Vinyl]

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In contrast to Billy Gibbons' previous solo albums The Big Bad Blues and Perfectamundo, almost all of the Hardware repertoire is original and rock-oriented with eleven of the album's twelve songs written by the ZZ Top frontman, Matt Sorum, Mike Fiorentino and Chad Shlosser. The sole exception is "Hey Baby, Que Paso," originally recorded by the Texas Tornados. "Stackin' Bones," one of the album's standouts, features a guest appearance by soulful rock duo Larkin Poe. Guns ‘N' Roses, Velvet Revolver and The Cult drummer Sorum also plays on the album as part of a core band featuring guitarist Austin Hanks. It's the same musical backbone that starred on The Big Bad Blues, which came out in 2018 and won the Blues Foundation's Blues Music Award.

The title is a tribute to legendary recording engineer the late Joe Hardy who worked with Gibbons and ZZ Top dating back to the mid-80s. Sonically, the album was influenced by the high desert circumstance of its recording. Says Gibbons, "The desert settings, replete with shifting sands, cacti and rattlesnakes makes for the kind of backdrop that lends an element of intrigue reflected in the sounds created out there." While a truly broad spectrum of approaches is notable on the album's hard driving tracks there is, to be sure, no mistaking the remarkable tone and growling vocals that are hallmarks of Gibbons' artistry. Elements of traditional hard rock, neo-metal, country rock, new wave, blues and even surf music make Hardware difficult to categorize and it would be a fool's game to do so. In fact, "Desert High," the album's last track, is a spoken word piece accompanied by a sinewy guitar that evokes the legend Gram Parsons whose death 48 years ago took place very close to where Hardware was recorded.

Billy sums up the album's ecumenical construct, "We holed up in the desert for a few weeks in the heat of the summer and that in itself was pretty intense. To let off steam we just ‘let it rock' and that's what Hardware is really all about. For the most part, it's a raging rocker but always mindful of the desert's implicit mystery."

  1. My Lucky Card
  2. She's On Fire
  3. More-More-More
  4. Shuffle, Step & Slide
  5. Vagabond Man
  6. Spanish Fly
  7. West Coast Junkie
  8. Stackin' Bones
  9. I Was A Highway
  10. S-G-L-M-B-B-R
  11. Hey Baby, Que Paso
  12. Desert High