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High Road Easy – High Road Easy Award winner

High Road Easy
High Road Easy
by Mike McMahan at 03 June 2020, 2:59 PM

HIGH ROAD EASY is a German band consisting of Jan Knopf and multi-instrumentalist Sven Horlemann. This self-titled album marks the group’s fourth release over the last eleven years; and seems to stand as evidence of their ever-expanding musical growth. The duo is joined here by three different guest drummers to help flesh out the band’s sound; but rely on Horlemann’s amazing ability for the remainder of the instrumentation contained on the record.

Knopf and Horlemann are greatly influenced by a litany of AOR music staples. The likes of WHITESNAKE, DEEP PURPLE, MSG, JOURNEY, EUROPE, and FOREIGNER are all easily heard influences. As a matter of fact, at times Jan’s voice resembles that of DEEP PURPLE’s legendary Ian Gillan so closely that it is hard to believe it isn’t him singing (I’m certainly not saying that it is a direct cop; just that the similarities are amazing).

The opening track, “Lights,” opens with a healthy dose of guitar fireworks over a solid and melodic background. The song is well written, both musically and lyrically; but the focus, for me anyway, is on the guitar work. Horlemann is definitely a talented cat, and the solo on this cut is very tasty. Knopf’s vocal delivery, regardless of who it resembles, can be a bit grating at times; and that is the case on this song, as well as others throughout the album. “No Regrets” is a heavier track than the first couple on the record. It opens with a driving, DEEP PURPLE like intro, and the remainder of the song follows suit. The lyrics are well-delivered here, and once again, the guitar work shines. The solo is again flawless.

High Road Easy” is another rocker, with tasty guitar riffs throughout. This is easily my favorite track on the record. When these two guys click on a song, there is some real magic and fire flying around - and this song is the best example I have found to back that statement up. Another good example is the scorching “Calling All Stations.”

All in all, this is a good release from HIGH ROAD EASY. It certainly has my curiosity piqued enough to look at the first three albums. Love the musicianship involved!

Songwriting: 8
Musicianship: 10
Memorability: 8
Production: 8

4 Star Rating

1. Lights
2. Sixes & Sevens
3. No Regrets
4. All My Love Is Lost
5. High Road Easy
6. Carry The Flame
7. Calling All Stations
8. Make My Day
9. Bad Luck
10. Hearts On Fire
11. Set Me Free
12. Best Of My Belief
13. You Can Be Mine
14. Reckless Man
Jan Knopf – Vocals
Sven Horlemann – Guitars, Bass, Keyboards

Magnus Brandell – Drums
Brooks Wackermann – Drums
Matt Billingslea – Drums
Record Label: Independent


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Edited 05 February 2023

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