Saturday, April 13 2013 15:42


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I'm late on this one. In fact, I think it's the first time in several album cycles that there's been a new CLUTCH record out that I haven't been able to get reviewed in time for release day. The reason? I'm The Rock Father now - a work-at-home Dad with two little ones running around. I'm an unapologetic CLUTCH fan, dating back to the days of the TRANSNATIONAL SPEEDWAY LEAGUE - a record that's 20 years old as of this year. As a guy that's literally worn out a few CLUTCH shirts (my favorite was the one with dual SGs on the sleeves - complete with flames) and hats over the course of two decades, I don't think the Maryland purveyors of fine rock can do much wrong. That said, I do have a problem with EARTH ROCKER, their 10th studio album...

Earth RockerI can't think "Earth Rocker" without thinking NIGHT ROCKER, the 1985 solo album from then-KNIGHT RIDER star DAVID HASSELHOFF. Anyone that reads this site knows what a KNIGHT RIDER fan I am... and what a CLUTCH fan I am. Maybe that explains why I hear the words "Earth Rocker" transposed to the tune of the "Night Rocker" title track. It's disturbing, and that's my problem.

Aside from the mental cross-pollination of titles and fandoms, EARTH ROCKER is everything you want in a CLUTCH record. The power of the rock is mighty - it's thunderous overtones pulverising eardrums with an underlying groove driven by influences of funk and blues.

There's a ferocity to EARTH ROCKER that feels a little more urgent than some of the recent CLUTCH releases, but it's already been nearly four years since STRANGE COUSINS FROM THE WEST hit the streets. The harmonica lead on "D.C. Sound Attack" strikes me in a place where Chicago-raised fans of The Blues Brothers can identify. It sounds natural. "Mr. Freedom" sounds like the soundtrack to the bar fight in my mind. The rest of the album just sounds good... as it should.

EARTH ROCKER is out now on Weathermaker Music. Get it on iTunes:


The Rock Father Rating: 4.5/5 Stars

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James Zahn

James Zahn is best-known as The Rock Father™, a media personality, commentator, adventurer and raconteur. He is the Owner, Publisher, and Editor-in-Chief of THE ROCK FATHER™ Magazine. In January, 2019, after nearly a decade of publishing The Rock Father™ Magazine, he joined Adventure Media and Events as Senior Editor of The Toy Book—the leading trade publication for the toy industry since 1984, as well as The Pop Insider — a destination for all things pop culture, and The Toy Insider — the leading consumer guide for toys and games. He is also editor of The Toy Report, a weekly newsletter published by The Toy Book each Thursday. Zahn has over 27 years of experience in the entertainment, retail and publishing industries.

He regularly serves as a Brand Ambassador and spokesperson for several Globally-recognized pop culture and lifestyle brands in addition to consulting for a number of toy manufacturers. 

Creatively, James has directed/edited music videos, lyric videos, and album trailers for bands such as FEAR FACTORY, has appeared as an actor in feature films and commercials, written comic books, and performed in bands. He currently serves as an artist manager and video director for PRODUCT OF HATE, whose debut album was released by Napalm Records in 2016, distributed by ADA/Warner Music in the U.S. with Universal Music handling global. A new album has been completed and is set for release this year.

Zahn and/or his work have been featured in/on CNN, NBC, ABC, WGN, CBS, GCTN, G4, The Chicago Tribune, Forbes, MarketWatch, Reuters, BusinessWire, Fangoria, Starlog and more. He's appeared as a music expert on CNN's AC360 alongside Anderson Cooper, and has been interviewed by Larry King. In the past he served as a writer for the Netflix Stream Team,  Fandango Family and PBS KIDS, penned articles for Sprout and PopSugar, and was a contributor to Chicago Parent.

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