Rich O’Toole brings a welcome does of 80’s and 90’s rock to his latest full-length American Kid, which was released March 17th. Thinking outside the box, American Kid beings with a brief monologue from Houston rapper Bun B who provides commentary on the uniqueness of Texas music and how it’s diversity gives it the heart and soul that makes it so special. From there the album goes forward with songs that provide snapshots of American stories whether it’s current single, “American Kid,” the roll the windows down and crank the volume “Sunset Blvd” which melodically recalls Bryan Adams hit “Summer of ’69”, the breezy, string accented “Casino Lights” or “Springsteen Gold” which tips its hat to one of O’Toole’s personal heroes (and Clarence Clemons with the sweet addition of saxophone).
Produced by Greg Calbi (Born To Run, Continuum), the remainder of the tracks offer a balance of ballads and roots rockers that give off an overall great vibe. “Heartbreak Is A Currency” (with a hint of Adam Duritz in O’Toole’s vocals) is a breakup song with an undeniable hook, while the up-tempo-romantic “101” tells the story of a South Texas boy falling for a Calabasas gal and “The Hardest Part” offers a heartfelt request to a new love to allow him to be a better man and enter her heart.
American Kid is rounded out by a cover of “God Save The King,” former #1 “Back to Back,” and “Take It From Here” whose uplifting lyrics, relaxed melody and gospel-like harmonies provide the perfect closer to an album that’s an enjoyable listen top to bottom.