Red & the Black
With most alternative rock lost in unenjoyable experimentation and '80s-obsessed electronic drool, and popular music at an all-time low, there's a heavy thirst for powerful, engaging rock. 'The Red & The Black' -- the debut album by 19-year-old San Franciscan Joe Talbot -- seeks to fill the void by rediscovering the muscular, R&B-driven roots of rock and roll. Inspired by the gutsy music of the 1960s, this collection of original material -- written, sung and produced by Talbot -- introduces an old soul with a new sound. After dropping out of high school, Talbot pursued his own education by immersing himself in the buried treasures of musical history. Along the way, he was fortunate to meet Peter Lewis, singer, songwriter, and guitarist of the legendary San Francisco band Moby Grape. Lewis became an avuncular source of strength and wisdom, pushing Talbot to complete the album and providing guitar-work for it's opening song. While there is a distinct tone and attitude throughout 'The Red & The Black,' each song is very singular. From a Dylanesque folk ballad with a punk edge ('Ballad of Jules Bulette'), to a throat-ripping duet reminiscent of Merry Clayton and Mick Jagger ('I've Been Saved'), to a fist-pumping protest rocker that calls to mind John Fogerty ('Smoke and Mirrors'), the album showcases the wide spectrum of Talbot's musical talents.