Through hardship to the stars…
We’ve endured a global pandemic (not out of the woods quite yet, are we?) and political malfeasance (not near confident, there) over the past year-and-a-half. Broke Fuse—Jay Moonah—has kept himself going through the challenges of Covid-19, releasing his second recording within these times.
What’s the saying: when caught in a storm, walk into it?
Moonah has seemingly taken the advice of the wise; the dozen songs and tunes making up Rocket Ride get us a step closer toward managing the hardships we’ve all faced since we realized that, for whatever reason, we weren’t going to be immune from the spread of a virus that didn’t necessarily respect international borders or those collective individuals displaying proud, challenged intellect.
While guest contributions were limited (largely) to a single per song, one shouldn’t expect Rocket Ride to be simply a sedate, meditative acoustic journey. “I Don’t Care” which has Moonah playing all the parts—percussion, guitar, bass—is a rock ‘n’ roll showcase, replete with blues harmonica, in the spirit of “Ballroom Blitz”—you may not hear it, but these battered ears certainly do!
“Miss Me When I’m Gone” has some old-southern soul woven into it, allowing a plaintive yearning to be exposed, while the talking blues of the most elaborate song, “The Ballad of Sonny Shade,” makes the mythical, closing number one we hold onto after everything else has faded to silence.
Three, harmonica-rich instrumental interludes are included. The most progressive of these, “Agitation- For the Common Good Part 1,” wouldn’t sound out-of-place on a long-lost Alan Parsons-Manfred Mann Earth Band reissue, with “The Stephenson Swamp Stomp” kicking-off Rocket Ride on more traditional notes; “Los Detalles del Diablo falls somewhere between.
With only guest vocals from spouse Karen Moonah, Moonah turns in a gentle Ron Sexsmith-inspired performance on “Strawberry Moon,” the album’s most introspective offering, while elsewhere guest Mike McKenna lays out some blistering guitar on the title track. The intensity of mid-career John Hiatt is brought to mind by the contemplative “Stolen Time” while “Stingray Blues,” lighter and groovier, takes a different view of relationships.
One appreciates the drive of independent musicians, ones inspired to continually create fresh, original music from a variety of perspectives within what can only be considered devastating—emotionally, physically, financially—times. Per aspera ad astra Broke Fuse advocates.
And he has.