The backstory behind Gather Round, the new solo album from Stray Cat upright bass player Lee Rocker (his first in over thirteen years) is a fascinating one. Born mostly from an introspective 6,000 mile, 6 weeks, 20 state road trip that Rocker and his wife Deborah embarked on in 2020 in their Airstream trailer that crisscrossed the country from California to New York and back, the album is imbued with a passion and fire that is instantly relatable to anyone who has ever put rubber to the road under the red, white, and blue. The ten songs on the album move at such an exhilarating pace that you practically feel the air whistling through your hair as the unique sights of our great land speed by you at an intoxicating clip outside your rolled down windows.
It is a classic road trip album that contains rockabilly sizzlers, unabashed love songs, cool cat jazz and barroom blues numbers, a killer instrumental, and a spirited cover culled from the discography of The Band, another band famous for chronicling life in these fifty states.
What is apparent in these musical offerings is Rocker’s love for a number of things with the three most prominent being his wife, his country, and of course first-generation rock and roll.
With his stellar backing band that features Buzz Campbell ( guitar, backing vocal), Larry Mitchell (drums, percussion), and Matt Jordan ( piano, organ), Rocker proves himself to be an exceptional frontman once again as he provides vocals and his virtuosic playing of the string bass across a collection of musical creations that sizzle and pop through your speakers or earbuds with a tight and unstoppable sound that a countless number of bands would kill or die for.
With a deep affection for their art and audience, Rocker and his bandmates have not only delivered a love letter to us the listeners with Gather Round, but they have also given us one of the first great albums of 2021.
Gather Round (Upright Records) by Lee Rocker was produced by Rocker himself and is now available on his website .