Luke Gasser is a rare breed. A guy with a diesel powered heart that pumps out electrified country rock blues with breath taking ease. Luke's last album, the fantastic 'Flicker', came ahead of him landing a special guest slot on one of Doro's never ending European treks. While on the road Luke and his band were fully charged with enthusiastic energy and musical inspiration, so much so that they went straight to work in Foolpark studio, Switzerland. All of the bass, drums and rhythm guitar tracks that appear on 'Rock'N'Roll Welfare' were laid down straight during the initial recording sessions and this captured magic really celebrates the sound of a gritty hard working band. It also gives a beautifully gutsy and honest vibe to the whole album.
'Sweet Veronica' opens the show with the expected swagger, similar in kind to 'Cardboard Town' from the good old Dogs D'Amour it lets you know straight from the off where this album is headed. We're going down that Country Rock highway again for another rip roaring ride through Gasser's working class songbook. The upbeat future classic that is 'A Jester For A Fool' follows next and deviates little from the tried and tested blueprint. It's a tune that will sit easy with all who like there rock dusty around the edges with a feel of an open road.
The title track captures an early AC/DC groove. More laid back than the previous two tracks it has a solid pumping bass-line at the core with Gasser's gravely tones lacing the kind of subtle menace through the tune that would surely have Bon Scott raising a glass up in Rock N Roll Heaven. Sticking with the relaxed but forceful approach 'Journeyman' takes a walk down through a dark and shadowy place, but as always the foot-tapping is kept on a steady pace. The tune, littered with talk of chain gangs, sends a smokey haze straight from the speakers that adds tenfold to the striking atmosphere. At just over six minutes in length it's one of the album's longest tracks but it flies by in the wink of an eye and is one the stand-out tracks.
The simplicity of Gasser's songwriting gives many of the tunes the same friendly feel, songs that you can listen to once and feel like you've heard a million times. The ease with which tunes like 'Jane Again', 'Still Under Fire' and 'Can't Believe' flow from the Gasser camp is remarkable. Credit where credit is due, Luke Gasser has surpassed himself with this thoroughly enjoyable romp through a dozen hard hitting, grit spitting, red blooded tunes. The guy is a regular European Springsteen. A travelling minstrel of blue-collar-rock, just carrying his guitar and a bag full of well worn tunes with him wherever he goes. The twelve tracks here all have more than a little of the right human touch injected into them, so much so that you can almost hear Gasser's heartbeat and feel his soul in this release. You can't doubt his credibility and you can't doubt his ability to turn out tune after tune of finely crafted grooves.