Al Anderson, the former guitarist with the irreverent blues-rock band NRBQ, shows a softer side of himself and an affinity for old-fashioned country music on his new solo album, After Hours, his first in 10 years. He and his band keep it fairly simple on these 13 original songs—straightforward country tunes with a touch of the blues, rockabilly and Western swing here and there.
Anderson’s vocals are front and center, but he knows his (modest) range and sticks to it. You won’t find any acrobatics here. He mixes the moods nicely, crooning the pretty ballad “Better Word for Love” one moment and rocking out with the knee-slapping hoedown of “Blues About You Baby” the next. “Right on Time” ranks among the standout tracks—imagine the Eagles doing the theme song for the NBC series Ed and you’ll get the picture. Anderson channels Randy Newman on the Dixieland-country blend of “Let’s Get Away for the Weekend,” and the album’s closer, “Two Survivors,” is a torch song in the spirit of George Michael’s “Kissing a Fool.” The guest vocalists—Sharon Vaughn on “Do Nothing Day” and Tia Sillers on “What’s a Thousand Miles”—help keep things interesting. After Hours won’t bowl you over. Instead, it’ll get under your skin, and you’ll find yourself humming its melodies for days.