Mott the Dog: Tom Guerra – Sentimental Junk – 5 Stars

Jon Butcher, an excellent guitarist and vocalist, adds his dulcet tones to the leadoff single ‘California’s Got To My Girl.’

This album may be a little Sentimental in its atmosphere, but Junk it is not!

This is Tom Guerra’s fifth solo album after ‘All the Above’ (2014), ‘Trampling Out The Vintage’ (2016), ‘American Garden’ (2018) and ‘Sudden Signs Of Grace’ (2020). This is besides being one of the leading lights in the fantastic Mambo Sons. So Mr. Guerra has not exactly been hiding his light under a bushel.

This album has a groove running through it that picks you up at the beginning of the first song, ‘Autumn Eyes,’ and rocks you along until the closing chords of the eleventh song, ‘A Song Of Mark Easton,’ a tribute to Tom Guerra’s former bandmate who was taken from us by Covid.

Tom Guerra admits this is a bit of a throwback album, taking him back to his roots of soul and rock’n’roll; it is all the better for it.

The Guitars are back and out front, with big fat, chunky guitar chords and solos on top of dexterous keyboards, bass and drums. The vocals bounce along on the top of this.

The music is so infectious it’s impossible to take the album off repeat on your player.

Scott Lawson Pomeroy – longtime collaborator of Tom Guerra’s; blessed with a sonic set of pipes.

The band assembled for this outing is like a who’s who of rock’n’roll. On bass guitar is the man himself, Kenny Aaronson, the bass player’s bass player. It would take me longer to write down here who Kenny has played with than who he has not played with. In this collection, he takes on the role of not only bass player but also musical sounding board whilst arranging horn arrangements, plus orchestral parts where required.

Rocking the album from the drum stool is Mike Kosacek giving the music a very solid foundation. Matt Zeiner of Jim Weider’s ‘The Weight Band’ handles the Hammond and piano. To complete the party is Morgan Fisher (ex-Mott the Hoople) on piano in his trademark fashion.

The vocals are mostly handled by the artist himself. But there are two notable contributors: Jon Butcher duets with Tom Guerra on the album’s leadoff single, ‘California’s Got To My Girl.’ Then after Tom Guerra had written a tribute to one of his own favorite artists, Leslie West, called ‘Eyes Of The World,’ fellow Mambo Son Scott Lawson Pomeroy came in and laid down a devastating vocal in one take, ‘Leaving Eyes of the World’ as the heaviest track on the album, with a lovely cowbell intro like ‘Mississippi Queen.’

Tom Guerra in his Pirate days.

Tom and Scott have been making music together for nearly forty years, the benefit of which can be heard here.

The songwriting is of such high quality that added to the ten originals here is a cover of Bob Dylan’s ‘Clean Cut Kid’ and it’s impossible to tell the join. (In fact, Mr. Zimmerman might learn a thing or two about presentation by listening to this version of his ode, well rocked up.)

Tom Kalio is responsible for the excellent artwork on the album.

I’ll finish the review with a quote from Kenny Aaronson, who, after all, knows a thing or two about rock’n’roll. “Tom is a great songwriter. He has great pop sensibilities, and I really like his way of crafting a melody. He is a sensitive and keen observer of the human condition as one will hear in his lyrics.” My sentiments exactly.

I sincerely hope this collection will push Tom Guerra more into the spotlight.

Tom Guerra – vocals and guitars
Kenny Aaronson – bass
Jon Butcher – Vocal duet – track 4
Mike Kosacek – drums and percussion
Matt Zeiner, Morgan Fisher – keys
Scott Lawson Pomeroy – Vocals, track 8

Written by Mott the Dog whilst tapping his paws.

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Kenny Aaronson, the master of the bass guitar.

Typically laid-back Tom Guerra, but turn on that guitar and he becomes supercharged.
Publicity Poster.

Album cover of Sentimental Junk.
Back cover of Sentimental Junk.