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Sonic: relating to the nature of sound or sound waves

Mojo: a magic charm, talisman, or spell


From the opening notes of their 1972 self-titled classic, to their bombastic multi-Platinum gem, FOGHAT LIVE, to 2016’s slide guitar soaked UNDER THE INFLUENCE, and right on through to their upcoming album, SONIC MOJO, FOGHAT has always been about the music. Music played loud. Music played live and music played that makes you want to move. 

On SONIC MOJO, founding member, drummer and leader of the pack Roger Earl is joined by stalwart guitarist, engineer and co-producer Bryan Bassett (Wild Cherry, Molly Hatchet), fun-loving, low-end thumper, and fan favorite bassist Rodney O’Quinn (Pat Travers Band) and Scott Holt on lead vocals and guitar (Buddy Guy), who has been the singer/guitarist of the band’s recent side project Earl & the Agitators since 2015. 

In typical FOGHAT fashion, there are a few surprises on the album, the first of which is a three-song collaboration with someone very dear to the FOGHAT family. These songs have special meaning for Roger, as they were co-written with Kim Simmonds, the man who gave Roger his first break back in 1967 as a member of Savoy Brown. Sadly, shortly after writing these songs, Kim passed away. 

The first of the three Kim Simmonds co-writes, “Drivin’ On,” is the debut single from SONIC MOJO. Vocalist/guitarist Scott Holt smiles as he proudly sums up what this bluesy rocker means to the band, “A song like ‘Drivin’ On,’ written by our friend Kim Simmonds, celebrates the swamp funk blues of Slim Harpo and the cosmic boogie of John Lee Hooker.” Bassist Rodney O’Quinn agrees this song is special, “It seemed like from the first take, there was a new sense of energy that was taking shape--like capturing lightning in a bottle. ‘Drivin' On’ has a nice boogie feel that makes you wanna take a long ride with the top down.” 

Bryan Bassett, who co- produced the album, also feels right at home with “Drivin’ On,” “This song is a perfect FOGHAT boogie number, with a dash of John Lee Hooker sprinkled in. It starts off subtle and blows up into a full-on rocker. Lyrically, it depicts the feelings of most traveling musicians, or road warriors of any profession, for that matter, as they make it home to their loved one.” Part blues, part ZZ Top and part FOGHAT, this tune is destined to become a live, fan favorite. 

Simmonds also co-penned album opener, “She’s a Little Bit of Everything.” The song, just like FOGHAT’s classic “Slow Ride,” starts off with nothing but a drumbeat, followed by fuzzy guitar and, just like that famous song, this one also celebrates women, albeit in a totally classier way! The third Simmonds co-write is the most emotional of the bunch. “Time Slips Away” penned when Kim was terminally ill, delivers a strong message that is both beautiful and emotional.  

Kim isn’t the only surprise on SONIC MOJO, however. Roger has a famous brother named Colin Earl, most known for the song “In the Summertime” by Mungo Jerry. Together, the two brothers, and the rest of the band, created the most unique tune on SONIC MOJO, titled “Wish I’d a Been There.” The song is an ode to country music legend Hank Williams. 

FOGHAT does country? 

Well…kinda sorta, but not really. 

“Wish I’d a Been There” shows that this band, even after five-plus decades of making music, isn’t afraid of trying something new. And…like everything else they’ve tired, they do it well. In fact, Scott Holt’s vocals shine on this tune to the extent that one wonders if he’s not the most naturally talented singer to ever grace the FOGHAT stage. 

Fans will enjoy giving this one a listen for sure! 

SONIC MOJO also sees FOGHAT tip their hat to great artists that came before them, as well as giving plenty of winks and nods from the current lineup. While there are songs on the album written by Willie Dixon, (“Let Me Love You Baby”), B.B. King (“She’s Dynamite”), and Chuck Berry (“Promised Land”), FOGHAT shows they can still boogie with the best of them. The straightforward rocker “I Don’t Appreciate You” and the bluesy “Black Days & Blues Nights” prove there’s no shortage of killer material, even 50+ years down the line, for this band. Bassett worked hard on the later, admitting this about “Black Days & Blue Nights”: “This song is about the demands of the touring life and a brilliant musician’s struggle with that life. I decided to add some ‘swamp blues’ percussion elements to this mix to add to its hypnotic groove.” 

FOGHAT has three advantages having guitarist/producer/sound engineer Bryan Bassett in the band. For starters, the late, great Lonesome Dave handpicked Bryan to take Rod Price’s place in the band. This is not only a testament to Bryan’s musical knowledge, but also to his ability to play amazing slide guitar. On top of being handpicked and playing virtuoso slide licks, the third advantage is that Bryan’s a top-notch producer and sound engineer. The SONIC in SONIC MOJO came from the big man’s ears and fingertips. This album simply sounds great. From the opening note to the last, Bassett’s prowess behind the board sets the bar for any FOGHAT album that comes after. 

Elder statesmen, and bandleader, Roger Earl is fully aware of just how good SONIC MOJO is. He’s also played with enough of the greats to realize that’s he’s in good company with this group of musicians. “I love playing and working with this band. During my almost 60-year music career, I have had the honor of playing with some really great musicians. Lonesome Dave, Rod Price, Craig MacGregor, Erik Cartwright, Nick Jameson, Tony Stevens, and Jeff Howell to name some that have graced this band. Many have sadly passed, some have retired or moved on, but I have to say that the current lineup has been one of the most inspirational for me, personally. Writing with Scott and Bryan has come easy. Words and ideas just seem to fall out at any time and another song is in the works. And Rodney’s input and bass playing has been invaluable. We are a band in every sense of the word.” 

Sonic: relating to the nature of sound or sound waves
Mojo: a magic charm, talisman, or spell 

Just as the name defines, SONIC MOJO is pure music, and pure magic.




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