From the opening musical notes of the lead track “Highway 10” from L.A. Yesterday, the new album from Lee Gallagher and The Hallelujah, you hear the passion in the air and then frontman Gallagher sings and you know you have arrived at an especially blessed and spiritual rock and roll place.
How should I describe Gallagher’s multi-faceted voice? All I can come up with are legends. When listening to it, I alternatively hear the voices of Gary Stewart’s without the twang, Robert Plant’s without his accent, Gram Parsons’ with a greater range and a Small Faces era Rod Stewart if he said “F*ck It” and gave himself completely over to belting blues-rock. To be fair to Gallagher, his vocal stylings possess a real-world mesmerizing uniqueness of their own that transcends any comparisons to any rock, country, or blues singer- living or dead (including mine).
I am making such a big deal of it in this review because L.A. Yesterday by Gallagher and his torrid backing band The Hallelujah is one of those rare albums where the vocals and music are so inseparably fused together that combined they will sonically hit you and knock you out of your music listening slumber chair upon first listen. At least that is what this record did to me a few mornings ago.
Highlights for me on this album other than the aforementioned fervent and impassioned “Highway 10,” are the electrically soaring “Goodnight Sweet Maria,” the soul-stirring “Lullaby for the Acid Queen,” the love-drenched “Feed Your Flame,” and the fiery and gloriously defiant “County Line.”
Lee Gallagher and The Hallelujah’s charismatic mixture of blues, soul, gospel, and classic rock is a fresh out of the box example of the endless possibilities of rock and roll renewal. Listening to it will restore your faith and lead you to the holy musical waters of this country where you will bask in the awesome power of loud, straightforward, no pretension, ass-kicking American music. In the church of rock and roll, that’s all you can ever really ask for, and Lee Gallagher and The Hallelujah demonstrate on L.A.Yesterday that they will deliver it, brothers and sisters, again and again, Amen.
L.A. Yesterday by Lee Gallagher and The Hallelujah will be available July 24 on their website .