Long Way Home
From Junior Lee Klegseth, the founder and guitarist of The RedHot Blues, comes a strong Americana / roots rock debut as singer/songwriter. While it was his intense guitar playing that brought him to the attention of blues fans, true fans of the band came to enjoy the many Klegseth-penned tunes found on the RHB releases. Here, the only tune even close to blues is the two minute She Got, but even there the funky bass line and drums only hint at the form. On 'Long Way Home', Klegseth throws his hat in the ring with artists like John Hiatt, Steve Earle, John Mellencamp and Drive-by Truckers. The songwriting craft Klegseth has appreciated and partook of since childhood is apparent here, too, with songs like Long Way Home, that laments how long it takes to get back to a place, only to find it isn't what we wanted. The CD opener, 'Crazy Things' belongs on the car stereo on a Midwestern summer day, with the windows rolled down. In fact many of the tracks appear to be an homage to times past--'66 Chevelle', 'Dance', 'Old Man's Words' and the title track. 'I Want What's Coming to Me' is a working class anthem, replete with a large crowd backing vocal, that makes one think of betrayals by companies like Enron. On the harder rock side are two tunes full of attitude that speak to the times and, more likely, to the present administration: I Wish You Could See is a spirited raw rocker with sarcastic and biting lyrics such as, 'You heard a voice on high, you were saved again / I thought you were safer as a sinner than a saved man who sins.' The sentiment continues in the fresh sound of 'Nobody', with it's greasy bass line, slide banjo and heavy guitars. But like most songwriters, the true test is the ballad, and here Klegseth shines with the smartly-crafted 'I Wanna Be' and 'Without You', both worthy of becoming classics. From JuniorLeeKlegseth.com: My first music memories should probably be from church but instead they are of singing along to Hank Williams' songs that I memorized the words to. I was enthralled with radio and jukeboxes, with the power of music and even more, the power of words. Three minutes and the great songwriters gave you one hell of a journey. Later, when I was a bit older I used to go to Ulven's Drugstore in my home town and read Hit Parade, a magazine that printed the lyrics to the top twenty songs. When I had the money I'd buy the magazine and memorize the lyrics to the current hits. Each week I'd listen to Casey Kasem's Top 40 countdown. To this day it amazes me how the words to those old songs will come to me when I hear one of them. No surprise then that music would become a major force in my life. Around the age of ten I started writing lyrics, epics that maybe Bob Dylan could have appreciated for their length if not their substance. I started playing guitar at fifteen, very bad guitar I might add. But there was no turning back. My love of words found other outlets as well-I came to enjoy writing just about anything and won some awards for poetry and speeches. I've never been far from music or writing. In 1983 I went to L.A., where I took guitar lessons, studied songwriting and formed a few rock bands. Later, I studied music formally at Los Angeles Pierce College, where I composed choral, small ensemble and even an orchestral work, and saw many of them performed. In 1991 I was burned out on the L.A. rock scene - a scene I had never really fit into. Driving down the 405 one day I heard Gary Moore's Still Got the Blues. It made me think back to watching blues bands at the Cabooze in Minneapolis, or at the Mississippi Queen in La Crosse. So I put out ads and The RedHot Blues were born. Fast forward fifteen years...The RedHot Blues turned out to be the best musical time of my life - recording, tours, festivals, clubs - fulfilling a million dreams. But one part of my musical dream went unfulfilled. I am, more than anything else, a songwriter. As The RedHot Blues faded, I polished some existing songs and wrote many more new ones (the epics replaced by conciseness, 'saying a lot with a little'). That evolved into some jam sessions and eventually, the desire to do a recording. That brings us to now, to Long Way Home, a title with many meanings for me. I'm genuinely excited about the songs on Long Way Home.