A well known and respected indie auteur, John Salaway has made a name for himself in his native Nashville, working with such venerable artists as Denny Laine and, on this, his sophomore set, power pop pundit Steve Allen and veteran guitarist Stuart Mathis. Obviously inspired by both Brit Rock and a singer/songwriter regimen, he borrows the buoyant sounds and creative acumen of bands like ELO, Wings, Badfinger, and of course, the Beatles, and then liberally infuses those influences in the music he makes of his own. A veritable one man music machine — he plays nearly all the instruments on this exceptional album — he shows off his skills with an enviable aplomb.
Nevertheless, it’s his buoyant, enthusiastic melodies and the astute arrangements that serves as their accompaniment which creates the most formidable impression. Whether it’s the assertive strains of “Rock n Roll Survivor,” the harmonious “Thick Skin” or the drama-laden dynamic of “A Day in Pictures and “On This Roller Coaster,” Salaway never creates less than an indelible impression. He harbors those hooks in abundance, and brings them home with drive and determination. It’s clear he relishes that unmistakable radio-ready style — check out his Lennon-esque wail on the intensely assertive “Just Breathe” — but he never comes across as though he’s mimicking or mining unfamiliar terrain. Agile and upbeat, the songs reflect an unabashed love for making his music, which results in an instantly engaging experience. In effect, that makes the journey Down the Road of Life as revelatory as the title implies.