Album Review: Bill Rotella – “All Roads Lead Home”
They call it Americana now, but in the early ‘80s singer/songwriter Bill Rotella knew the genre under its original classification: country rock. Of course, that was before a new generation of college kids raised on punk and indie records gave roots music an alternative edge. As a member of the band Baywood, Rotella was decades ahead of his time, relishing in harmony-rich country rock that would slay on campus radio today. With his latest solo effort All Roads Lead Home, Rotella takes inventory of his past, both musically and personally.
The sweetly tuneful Tom Petty guitar hooks that characterized Baywood are in prime form. The opening track, “Shameless,” is a brimful of crystalline riffs; it is an invigorating reminder of the massive influence that Roger McGuinn had on roots rock. The title track is a sentimental yet brutally honest overview one’s life with Rotella admitting, “All I needed was a kick in the ass.”
There is an undeniable West Coast feel to the album, which is not surprising considering that Rotella is from Los Angeles. The laid-back and sun-drenched acoustic gorgeousness of “Monterosso” is the perfect California summer soundtrack. But don’t expect Rotella to settle into midlife mellowness. “Honey on a Razorblade” rocks with a youthful restlessness that will tell all these new kids on the Americana block to get off his lawn.