Self-Release – 2017
11 tracks; 47 minutes
The Conqueroos are a quartet based in Virginia, with Anthony Rosano on vocals, guitar and mandolin, Jeremy ‘JB’ Bustillos on harmonica and sax, Paul Warren on bass and Scott Smith on drums. They travelled to New Orleans to record their third album with Mike Zito who produced the record and added some guitar and vocals. Anders Osborne, Johnny Sansone and Michael Harvey sat in on one track each on slide guitar, accordion and fiddle respectively.
Anthony wrote all the songs bar one which comes from drummer Scott. The material ranges from hard-rocking pieces like opener “20 Days” which, with its dramatic slide work, could easily fit on a Zito album, to acoustic closer “Proud Of My Sins” on which Michael’s fiddle adds a distinctively country blues feel. “Bound To You” is probably the heaviest blues-rock tune here with some strident guitar but “Long Island Sound” is the standout track with its autobiographical lyrics about growing up, a song that recalls Springsteen, especially when the sax joins Johnny’s wistful accordion.
Anthony and Mike’s guitars mesh over Scott’s busy drums on his song “You Don’t Know Me” and Anders’ swampy slide work and JB’s harp add urgency to “Shakin’ In The Veins”, a song about the perils of drugs. “Revolve” finds Anthony in thrall to a girl as he mixes dreamy verses and spacey wah-wah fuelled guitar with a crunching chorus beefed up by the sax. The sax also features on “Love Got A Hold On Me”, a mid-paced rocker with Anthony bemoaning the hold the girl has over him, his guitar expressing his angst well. “Wicked Grin” is a short but sweet rocker with the slide and sax joining forces to great effect and “Blackbird” is another strong blues-rock tune with plenty of big guitar riffs between acoustic passages. The busy shuffle “Give Me Strength” shows that the band can also work well in more traditional blues styles.
This is an enjoyable album whose appeal should extend beyond just the blues-rock audience.