Upbeat, positive, and downright danceable, Ralph Roddenbery’s latest release, For So Long, is a dream come true for a jam fan searching for depth. The message of love permeates the album and emerges in each of the 14 tracks like rays of sunlight appearing over a ridge; this message is a staple to Ralph’s loyal fan base which turns out in festive droves to his live shows. It is also a testament both to Ralph’s songwriting abilities and the grand production work of bandmates Richie Jones and Ted Norton of capturing that amiable vibe in a studio setting.
Formerly of Atlanta jam scene staples The Grapes, guitarist Norton seems to have found his new groove shoes in the subtle accents and bold interplay to Ralph’s thoughtful lyrics. Never overstepping his musical accompaniment in a song, Norton’s guitar is just one element that makes the Ralph Roddenbery Band a true collective effort. Add the dependable rhythm section of Tommy and Richie Jones, and such guest musicians as violinist Zebulon Bowles and John Marsh on the swirling Hammond organ, and the “Band” soon becomes “Family.”
With a vocal delivery comparable to Cat Stevens, should he have ever walked barefoot through kudzu, Roddenbery’s projection on “Get Up Off Your Hands“ gives the listener a musical pat on the back. The number is a strong candidate for album standout, but “Take the Time” very well may take this top honor. Bringing Samantha Alessi-Jones to the forefront for the duet gives the listener a reflective perspective before bringing out another groove laced number to keep those feet busy.
For So Long is out now on Ralph Roddenbery Music.