Lean Forward

Lean Forward

by The Bottle RocketsThe Bottle Rockets


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It took the Bottle Rockets three years to come up with a follow-up to 2006's righteous return to form, Zoysia, but it doesn't take long for Lean Forward to demonstrate that Brian Henneman and his bandmates used the time wisely -- if this isn't an out-of-the-park grand slam like Zoysia or The Brooklyn Side, it's a solid home run that confirms the BoRox are still one of America's great unsung rock & roll bands. Plenty of roots rockers have written about their love of fast cars, as Henneman does here on "Nothing But a Driver," but not many have come up with a well-observed slice of life about using public transportation, and "Get on the Bus" is a great example of what the Bottle Rockets do so well, with its lean, wiry melody, the energetic banter between the mandolins and electric guitars, and Henneman's lyrics about the broad cross section of folks brought together on their way home, whether they like it or not. (And the hard boogie of "Nothing But a Driver" surrounds lyrics about a guy who's found a way to satisfy his need for a cool ride by becoming a repo man, hardly the usual gearhead's tale.) Elsewhere, "Solitaire" is an all-too-believable sketch of a marriage gone sour, "Shame on Me" is a spirited tale of a guy who knows changing his ways isn't as easy as he wants others to imagine, and "Kid Next Door" is a powerful story of a good guy who went to war and never came back. Eric "Roscoe" Ambel, who produced much of the Bottle Rockets' best work, returns on Lean Forward, and he gives the sessions a sound that's tough and full-bodied without drowning out the more subtle textures of the songs, and the guitar work by Henneman and John Horton is full of rock & roll crunch without beating the fine details to death. The Bottle Rockets fuse a regular guy's sensibilities and concerns with a streetwise intelligence that's smart without sounding arrogant, and their music is solid, Southern-style meat-and-potatoes rock at its best; it's a formula they've mastered over the years, and Lean Forward shows it's still delivering soul-satisfying results more than a decade and a half on.

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Product Details

Release Date: 08/11/2009
Label: Bloodshot Records
UPC: 0744302015729
catalogNumber: 20157


  1. The Long Way
  2. Shame on Me
  3. Nothin' But a Driver
  4. Hard Times
  5. Done It All
  6. Open Your Eyes
  7. Kid Next Door
  8. Way It Used to Be
  9. Get on the Bus
  10. Slip Away
  11. Solitaire
  12. Give Me Room

Album Credits

Performance Credits

Bottle Rockets   Primary Artist
Eric Ambel   Guitar,Keyboards,Vocals
Rob Arthur   Organ,Piano
Joe Flood   Fiddle,Vocals
Sammy Merendino   Percussion
Jim Duffy   Organ
Brian Henneman   Dobro,Guitar,Vocals,Electric Sitar
Mark Spencer   Electric Piano
Mark Ortmann   Percussion,Drums

Technical Credits

Eric Ambel   Producer,Engineer
Joe Flood   Composer
Manni Greiner   Cover Art
Tim Hatfield   Engineer
Brian Henneman   Composer
Mark Ortmann   Composer
Robert Parr   Composer
Bob Andrews   Management
Scott Taylor   Composer

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