Left Lane Cruiser

Left Lane Cruiser
Rock Them Back to Hell!


By Georgetown Fats
November 2013

By now it is safe to say I am a fan of the blues produced by Left Lane Cruiser. As either a two-piece combo, with Brenn Beck on drums and harmonica and Freddy J IV on guitar and vocals, or as a three-piece with the Reverend James Leg making guest appearances on vocals and Fender Rhodes, Left Lane Cruiser (LLC) features both a strong musicianship and a punk energy that keeps me coming back for more.

With the press kit accompanying their six studio release touting bass, harmonica, organ and trashcan percussion, it was hard to wait the few minutes to dump the tracks onto my iTunes account so they could be enjoyed throughout my audio systems. Having long since had to restrict LLC from my daily commutes due to a sudden allergic reaction potentially resulting in speeding tickets, I was curious to see if the energy level could be kept up with more of the full band sound.

It is absolutely cliche to say, but appropriate to mention, that for their 6th studio release Left Lane Cruiser continues to surprise musically. While on their fifth release, Junkyard Speedball, harmonica duties are handled by drummer and percussionist Beck - often while playing his kit at the same time - on Rock Them Back to Hell! the harp work is supplied by Kevin Jackson on both “Zombie Blocked” and “Electrify.” On each of those tracks the listener is treated to about as close to the standard 12-bar sound as you will get from these guys, but with their own special spin. Jackson’s harp work on “Zombie Blocked” has that standard ‘Chicago blues sound,’ but with the addition of the electrified trashcan percussion, it is hard not to hear the dancehall/electronica/industrial cross-over potential.

On “Overtaken,” Left Lane Cruiser demonstrates that the funk and soul doesn’t always have to come from a bass player or a slick-coiffed singer. Proving how the two founders of Left Lane Cruiser have plied their craft all over the world to their fans, within just a few bars of “Overtaken,” they produce a massive soul/funk grove that just oozes out of the speakers. Beck and J IV, though just two miscreants from Fort Wayne, Indiana, can lay it down with the best of them.

Closing out Rock Them Back to Hell! with “Righteous,” shows that though adept at multiple alternative blues styles, it is that punk North Mississippi Hill Country sound that put these guys on the map. Freddy J IV locks down the guitar into that trance groove with Beck on drums and percussion, before J IV starts in with the title vocal line. Your bobbing head starts to loosen up your shoulders, and then the shoulders now too give in to the music of Left Lane Cruiser. Left Lane Cruiser’s music may have the power over their fans to Rock Them Back To Hell!, but if LLC’s music was featured on one end of the spiritual scale, the opposing end would be hard pressed to supply as compelling a band for consideration.

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