November print magazine cover star, local rock and blues renegade Gavin Doniger, delivers on the promise of his lead up single ‘Back To You’ (his first under the Doniger moniker), in the form of a solid-gold collection of soulful rock and swampy-blues mana entitled ‘Renegade’.
In addition to Donigers rock-dog vocals and guitar prowess, the album also features the collective talent of some of this region’s finest musos in the form of Joe Macphail, Liam Bowditch and George Carpenter – who also lent his production skills to the record.
The album kicks off on a jaunty high, with the opening double-salvo of the album’s title track, ‘Renegade’ and the pumping, slightly psych-influenced ‘Stay’, laying down the template for the wide-ranging rock-blues hybrid he’s unleashed on this record.
Aforementioned single, ‘Back To You’, channels somewhat of a latter period Cruel Sea vibe, Gavin’s grizzled vocals moodily soaring over an insistent rock groove which oozes both grit and soul. Lyrically, the song holds a mirror up to the self-obsession inherent in today’s society, encapsulated in the memorable refrain of its gutsy chorus; “everything that you do, it all comes back to you.”
‘Get With You’ slithers along on a salacious voodoo-groove, Doniger delivering the tracks sultry refrain “I’m gonna get it with you” with conviction. Meanwhile ‘Time’ brings a cruisy, mid 70’s Southern Rock vibe, with its acoustic strum and sweet, harmony laced vocals embellished with an insistent organ riff, which makes an appearance towards the tracks end.
The second half of the record opens on a humorous trip with the bent, one minute curio, ‘Smoking Nuns’, before things return to familiar territory with the rough around the edges, Stones’ish swagger of ‘Game Show Star’. The Doniger project also display their versatility in the form of the moving, country rock delight, ‘Ezriel’, allowing the front-man to channel his inner Dylan.
Penultimate number, ‘Norma Jean’, a homage to original Hollywood starlet Marilyn Monroe, rocks AND rolls off an insistent groove, with the album concluding on a moving, contemplative vibe with ‘Feeling You Right’. Here Doniger takes on the role of the dusty, guitar slinging troubadour at the bar, with tasty swells of strings and subtle percussion colouring the space between the cracks as he emotes a tale of achy yearning in whiskey-soaked strains.
With ‘Renegade’, Gavin Doniger and his rock-solid cohorts have delivered a classy, heartfelt and broad ranging rock record tailor made for sweaty bars and good times.