Noah Riley Teal – Self-Titled
This effort is the debut of 17-year-old Georgia singer-songwriter/guitarist Noah Riley Teal. His 10-song self-titled LP (Drops July 7-Independent) produced by Coy Bowles (Zac Brown Band) gets off to a generous start when he lays down some tight beats on “Should’ve Seen the Other Guy.” Now I’m an old stogie of a rocker, bonafide baby-boomer from Elvis-Beatles-Rolling Stones-Motown to Punk days. So, I’m a hard sell on young wannabe rockers. But you know what?
Noah Riley Teal has the Babadook. He has good aggressive authority in his rootsy rock assault with a band that knows how to keep it soulful & riveting without getting too polished. By the more soulful “Ride or Die,” Noah adds horns & a chorus that’s spirited. I’m impressed because I’m tapping my foot, clapping my hands & I like this kid’s attitude singing. It’s genuine. Noah comes well-taught; he adds his own noodling & creates a certified groove that is immaculately crafted. The guitars gnarl away as the horns punctuate with verve. I don’t even know the sons of great rock singers who have shown this kind of skill.
Teal falls back completely by the third cut to a ballad in “Fair Chance,” & allows the lead guitar to play a bluesy run with a confident vocal. Maybe a little too commercial but not as overwrought as the once highly regarded Arista act Danny Peck who was supposed to take off ala Bruce Springsteen but never left the ground (despite being fairly good). The music business is brutal. But here, Teal sounds a bit like the now-obscure Danny Peck. Nice tune, but elementary.
Noah uses blends of Southern rock, a pinch of blues & classic rock overtones with country ingredients. It’s all done with buttery rhythms, skillful guitar runs & good taste. He’s not yet as gritty as the Medlock’s of Blackfoot, or as melodic as the early Marshall Tucker Band but he has lots of fervor in a delicate balance. “I’m Coming Around,” is quite cool. Teal knows how to scrunch lyrics, add the necessary personality & give his song a curvy anatomy. This is an expressive song.
So, basically, Noah follows the basic R&R menu but is wise enough to polish the tunes with his own character. It’s a winning blend. “Lonely Man,” has the familiar melodic line of older country-rock classics (probably The Allman Brothers) but it’s done with a respectful nod. Noah maintains a comfortable intensity on many pieces & keeps the songs informal. No real showboating, a little guitar flash, but he keeps it all in a well-deserved place.
Highlights – “Should’ve Seen the Other Guy,” “Ride or Die,” “Fair Chance,” “I’m Coming Around,” “Lonely Man” & “Next Train Out of Town.”