Old Union plays Southern rock as Lynyrd Skynyrd does: with raucous keyboards, wailing guitar solos, gravelly vocals and a devil-on-the-shoulder attitude.
Motels & Highways captures the restless nature of someone caught between redemption and angst. In the title track, organist and lead singer Chuck Foster pipes, “Motels and highways are the only home I’ve ever known,” and in “Rusted” he embodies a broken engine left out in a field to be scarred by weather. But the details of each song make the album feel more like atonement and liberation than imprisonment. “One For the Family” features the searing fiddle of the famed Charlie Daniels, and the gospel vocals that back “Justified” punch up the chorus into spiritual rock ’n’ roll.
Though the bluesy horn section and guitar jams are solid, it’s when Foster spits out his defiantly saucy lyrics that the album truly ignites. In “Deadline,” he sings, “And we’re all gonna go sometime. I’ll be damned if I spend the rest of my life standin’ round in line, waitin’ ’round to die!” It’s the kind of line that gives you that ballad moment, where you close your eyes and raise your fist—or your beer—to the sky.
Old Union plays the Elk’s Lodge with Miller Creek, Tuesday, July 22 at 8 PM. Cover TBA.