Billy F. Gibbons

Concord, 2021


REVIEW BY: Max Kaplan


With his third solo studio album, Hardware, Billy Gibbons continues in the tradition of heavy Texas blues and rock. The same low-down gritty cool that attracted listeners to ZZ Top’s guitar-driven sound is still prevalent throughout the album. The two opening tracks, “My Lucky Card” and “She’s On Fire,” grant us two dense rockers, complete with that classic Gibbons guitar drive and bouncing rhythm section. Dark, edgy vocals lay atop the songs to complete that Gibbons sound. my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250

Gibbons’ Texas influence is made obvious in tunes like “Shuffle, Step, And Slide,” in which he presents a classic Texas shuffle through the lens of hard rock guitar tones. Gibbons’ voice itself could almost be mistaken to be running through an overdrive pedal of some sort, as his gritty, crackling vocals top off the tracks. The track’s chorus, “shuffle, step, and slide,” sounds as though it could have been a Big Joe Turner tune turned upside down. 

On “Vagabond,” Gibbons proves that he’s not reliant on overdriven guitar or a loud rhythm section for his talents to shine. This slowed down soul tune becomes a powerful ballad at its close, with Gibbons’ guitar playing sweetly throughout. Gibbons’ voice proves to be sensitive and relatable, despite its unorthodox raspy approach.

Gibbons brings in fellow blues rock compatriots Larkin Poe to contribute background vocals and guitars on “Stackin’ Bones.” Their similar guitar styles complement each other nicely as the group’s vocals blend into the tune seamlessly. These two truly present a match made in hard guitar heaven.  

Gibbons does a great job of not overstepping the inherit boundaries that heavy rock can present. Often, heavy guitar licks and raspy vocals can be heard as cliché, but with Hardware, Gibbons presents a fresh new approach to a genre that he himself had a large hand in crafting. 

Rating: A

User Rating: Not Yet Rated



© 2021 Max Kaplan and The Daily Vault. All rights reserved. Review or any portion may not be reproduced without written permission. Cover art is the intellectual property of Concord, and is used for informational purposes only.