Artist: Richie Onori's Blues Messenger
Album: In The Name Of Freedom
Label: Onori Entertainment
Reviewer: Melissa Martinez
Date: Oct 8, 2013


Richie Onori’s Blues Messenger is a band that I found last year, and I was impressed then with the versatility of the man best known for being the drummer for The Sweet. With the recent release of ‘In The Name of Freedom’ I’m reminded of how good Richie is at making the listener feel his emotion, and I’m impressed anew with the fearless approach to each song on the disc.


In a world where political correctness is the norm, finding an artist that is almost defiant about his love for our country, and his despair at where we seem to be heading is absolutely refreshing. There are no punches pulled and no apologies offered when Richie and the band are singing “Power to the People”. With the current state of the government and the general feeling of disillusionment it’s as if Richie had a crystal ball. With a combination of powerful lyrics and a hard driving beat the call for unity and awakening is a powerful one.


While I find the guitar work in “Hey You (Better Think Again)” catchy and listenable, it’s “Long Live Rock” that feels like an anthem for the modern age. The harmonies in the chorus are clean and done really well. It’s the kind of song that you can imagine yourself singing to at a concert, and it’s got an ability to unite all walks of life. As the title implies it’s more Rock than Blues but I still enjoyed it. The Country feel of “American Fighters” is a total change of pace, but the common thread of wanting better for the U.S remains. “Buffalo Nation” has a heavy Blues groove that I love and the chorus evokes the feel of the Native Americans; a deliberate beat and tambourine give the feeling of a tribal chant.


“Blues Messenger”, with a heavy use of organs and really has a Gospel feel to me. It’s a nice departure from the heavier feel of the previous songs; while “In the Name of Freedom” takes an upbeat approach to the prevalence of big pharma in our culture. “Come Together We’re the U.S.A.” reminds me of Rock from the 70’s with a groovy intro, the “radical” lyrics, and the heavy harmonies. The sax in the bridge caught me a little off guard, but fit really well with the overall song. “The Answer” closes the disc with another catchy riffy tune; with the Hammond B3  in the bridge stealing the spotlight. It’s a nice ending leaving the listener with some hope.


If you’re the sensitive type this isn’t the disc for you. As I said in the beginning; this disc is a social commentary and Richie’s lyrics leave little doubt that he’s less than impressed with the way a majority seem to feel. He’s radical without being rude, but leaves no doubt that he wants to see a return to more personal accountability and cooperation instead of division. The musicianship is still stellar but for me the lyrics are what take the apple pie.  


2 Votes

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