Pat Travers Band – Can Do

Pat Travers has long been known as a guitar force to be reckoned with. With an illustrious career spanning back at least 37 years, the Canadian-born six-string slinger has more pure life experience to draw on then most. His records Heat In The Street and Makin’ Magic are considered influential to many musicians who had their starts in the 80’s. Can Do, Travers’s latest offering, is a solid, hard rock, groovin’ album. Can Do packs plenty of substance with just a bit of flash, to please his fans new and stalwart alike.

Pat Travers Band - Can Do Album Art

This is a very fine rock and roll record for those who appreciate thick, chunky riffs, ample groove, and copious flashes of guitar brilliance. It’s a disc with an organic presentation; without redundant instrumentation or flourish, it could almost be described as a record for rock purists. We’re treated to funk, blues, and raunchy boogie through a variety of different contexts. Songs are well-composed, and seem to have a central lyrical theme of togetherness and enduring love. It’s an appealing disc, with a gritty edge as well as a softer side. Production is nice and clear without becoming overly ‘digital’ or ‘crisp’. Both ambient listening and ‘through headphones’ sound good – so the bass & low end has a very good balance with the treble-heavy stuff.

With a powerful crew of bandmates, Travers delivers welcome notes: heavy-hitters, blues-infused rockers, an instrumental, a pop cover, and even a ballad. What we appreciate, possibly unspoken, about artists like Bruce Springsteen and Tom Petty is that both of those guys have ‘non virtuosic’ singing voices, and yet both deliver some of the most powerful and enduring tunes in all of rock and roll. Travers could be courted in that vocalist category: masculine, powerful, attitudinal, and perfectly suited to his material. The dual guitar work from Kirk McKim and Travers shines throughout. There’s a tasteful use of effects throughout. A characteristic, smooth, warm guitar tone permeates every song, rendering each ‘undeniably Pat Travers’. The guitar lines show restraint and modesty throughout, only moving in to flash territory when absolutely necessary and then, not for long: these moments serve as accents to songs rather then their main appeal. As expected from a ‘real rock band’, everyone can play to ‘serve the songs’ without becoming overbearing, or dragging the songs down. Rodney O’Quinn‘s bass guitar and Sandy Gennaro‘s drums are rock solid, moving the band forward. Check out and enjoy the bass slides in “Armed And Dangerous” or the snare drum, marching-band evocative intro in “Wanted (That Was Then / This Is Now)”.

A few of the songs draw inspiration from the clime and time in which Travers lives and plays: we hear themes about the passage and change of time, rain, sunsets, and rednecks. “Can Do”, “Long Time Gone”, “Keep Calm and Carry On” and “Red Neck Boogie” stand out clearly. The hard rock heaviness of “Can Do” and “Long Time Gone” contrasts sharply to the laid-back, ‘hanging out, looking over the Florida surf’ vibe in “Diamond Girl”. The band distinctly puts their own stamp of ownership on the Eurhythmics‘ “Here Comes The Rain Again”. Not all, but most rock records these days do not offer instrumental tunes, so “Keep Calm and Carry On” is very refreshing. The only critique would be that the drums are a little bit sizzly – the sound is a little trebly or grating. Because of that ‘sizzle’, the record requires a touch of EQ work to get the overall song volume ‘just right to blast’. Some of the other tunes fade a little in to the background, but the entire album is packed with songs which have fresh ideas. Everything from the tantalizing slide work in “As Long As I’m With You” to the wry lyrical critique within “Waitin’ On The End Of Time”, the whole disc is worth plenty of listens.

Pat Travers Band Photo 2013 1

Pat Travers proves to us with Can Do that he’s still one of the top guys in his game. Offering up a classy mix of rock, blues, funk, pop, and ‘boogie’, he cements his place within rock guitar’s elite. For those who appreciate classic, hard rock and roll that needs no newfangled bells and whistles, this album will be a real ear pleaser. On tour, when the songs take on new life when presented to live audiences, things will get even betta.

Track Listing:
Can Do
Stand Up / Give It Up
Diamond Girl
As Long As I’m With You
Long Time Gone
Wanted (That Was Then / This Is Now)
Armed And Dangerous
Here Comes The Rain Again
Keep Calm & Carry On
Dust & Bone
Waitin’ On The End Of Time
Red Neck Boogie

Band Lineup:
Pat Travers – Guitar, Vocals
Kirk McKim – Guitar
Rodney O’Quinn – Bass
Sandy Gennaro – Drums

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About Iris North

My formal position is: editor and music reviewer. I joined the PlanetMosh army in 2012. I enjoy extreme metal, 'shred' guitar, hard rock, prog rock, punk, and... silly pop music!