Rock ‘n’ Roll Ride
By Michael Popke
“Out with the old, in with the new,” sings Night Ranger vocalist-bassist Jack Blades on the title track to his second solo album, “Rock ’n Roll Ride.” But Blades actually relies more on the old than the new throughout the 11 songs here, which blend elements of Night Ranger, Damn Yankees and his work with Tommy Shaw.
He calls on old friends, too: Blades co-wrote “Born For This” and “Rise and Shine” with Survivor founder Jim Peterik and “Anything For You” with Cheap Trick’s Robin Zander (who also helps out on the chorus). And Night Ranger drummer Kelly Keagy and guitarists Brad Gillis and Joel Hoekstra make cameos.
Full of anthems (“Love Life”), ballads (“Hardest Word to Say”) and straight-ahead rockers (“Say You Will”), “Rock ’n Roll Ride” also includes the radio-friendly “Back in the Game,” while the Southern-fried “Hey Now” could have been recorded by Kid Rock.
Blades, who looks nowhere near 58 years old, isn’t likely to earn many new listeners at this point in his career, but longtime fans will enjoy this ride.