BLACKTOP MOJO "PRODIGAL" REVIEW BY BILL SPRUCE
BLACKTOP MOJO “PRODIGAL’
Blacktop Mojo – “Prodigal”
By Bill Spruce
“Hey Bill, you want to review a single by Blacktop Mojo?”
“What the hell is a Blacktop Mojo?” I said, hey I have never heard of them but I kind of like the name.
So, I proceed to Google; the answer to everything, except for my own purpose in life, apparently. “Ahh… I see a release called “Prodigal from 2017?” “Yes, that’s the one.”
Alright then, “I will get to the bottom of it, along with a few long neck bottles of Sam Adams and some Jack Daniels… please, stand by.”
First thing I do after the first few listens with any review, any new music, any discovery of any kind is some research. I listen first, research next; who are they, where did they come from, how long they been around.
“Prodigal” - my immediate impression is this song is exceptionally well produced, the recording is impeccable; if I had to find a fault I think the drums could have used just a pinch more front and center powerful but this is coming from a guy who likes drummers. Hell, I don’t know. I am trying to find something wrong with this recording and I can’t.
It’s a father-son power ballad-type song but I am relieved to tell you it is not an over-used expression; this isn’t a Harry Chapin, “Cat’s in the Cradle,” it’s definitely a fresh take. I am having a hard time analyzing this and describing it because I have heard this before… but I haven’t, and it’s damn good. My next impression is the singer has an incredible voice, and have no clue where this gentleman has been hiding. This band may not have “made it” but this voice has made it (or could have) with the likes of any number of headliners in the last… well, you pick the years.
Back to that research thing; what I immediately notice is they have no Wikipedia page. It’s ok, I don’t have one either; it means neither this band, nor I, have “made it” yet, but it doesn’t mean we don’t have potential. They have a website and here’s where it gets very interesting:
I love music I can’t put in a box, and every time I start to say, “oh this sound like…” the next track says, just “nope.” I confess I sneaked a listen at the other tracks on their album “Burn the Ships.” As I listened, I am cocking my head to the side like I am straining to see a menu in a dimly lit restaurant, as if to get a closer listen with what I have to imagine was puzzlement on my face…
…and I swear, this music has got a country-ish swagger, southern rock something, that is all mixed-in with the mostly very-metal sound. I was bewildered, attempting to describe it to myself in my head, and I think it went something like… well, it’s metal, but those bars right there scream some kind of grunginess… well, it’s metal, but that finger pickin’ chord progression right there says Grand Ole Opry, man. The voice could make it anywhere but at times I had a “.38 Special” flashback. I am so confused because it’s heavy and powerful all at the same time.
So, then came the self-satisfaction and pride that I do know music and need to trust what I hear. I made it to the “bio” section of their website and there I read: “A hard-driving Southern rock unit based out of Palestine, Texas, Blacktop Mojo's fiery blend of post-grunge, classic rock, and metal falls somewhere between Soundgarden, Black Stone Cherry, and Lynyrd Skynyrd.” I knew it! I knew my ears were not failing me, I heard it right! There IS something different here and it’s good.