Album Review – Sammy Hagar and Friends

I love Sammy Hagar’s voice, I always have. Before we get started, full disclosure, I'm interviewing Sammy Hagar tomorrow. I really loved "Sammy Hagar and Friends" and you may think I'm just saying that because I'm chatting with Mr. Hagar tomorrow, but the truth is, if I didn't like it, I just wouldn't write about it.

After listening to Mr. Hagar’s new album “Sammy Hagar and Friends” I can’t help but wonder how his voice still sounds this good forty years later. Sammy Hagar is a legendary rock front man. With Sammy Hagar and Friends Sammy gets to explore other genres he hasn't played in before, which as a fan is very entertaining to listen to.

The first track “Winding Down” might be the best track on the album. It’s a bluesy country number that’ll get your feet stomping and your hands clapping. I’m a big fan of this new band Rival Sons. If you haven’t checked them out, it is a must that you do, especially if you’re into artists like Sammy Hagar, which if you're reading this then you probably are. Jay Buchanan of Rival Sons wrote the song “Not Going Down” specifically for Sammy. I’m confused as to why they let Sammy have “Not Going Down,” because it’s a badass song, there loss I guess.

When I first got the album the song title that jumped out at me was “Personal Jesus.” My initial reaction was that it was a new song that Sammy had written that just happened to be called “Personal Jesus” and not a cover song. It’s such a dark song and Sammy Hagar’s music has always been much more upbeat and happy, but I know he has a dark side. I love what he did with this song; he completely made it his own song. It still sounds like the original but the tone is more positive bluesy and soulful.

“Father Sun” is another original track that is just beautiful. It starts off as a campfire song with an accordion and acoustic guitar and becomes this is great rock song. I love the guitar on this album, from the beginning acoustic guitar, the killer rock riff that follows, the lap steel, the mandolin…great stuff.

“Knockdown Dragout” is an aggressive arena ready hard rock anthem featuring Kid Rock. “Ramblin’ Gamblin’ Man” is a Sammy Hagar doing Bob Seger, which is fun because it’s something we’ve never heard before and after a forty year career in the music industry you’d think we’ve seen it all.

“Bad on Fords and Chevrolets” is a rocking country song written by Ronnie Dunn of Brooks and Dunn. I’m not a big country music fan, but when Sammy Hagar does country he’s still rocking, plus I love the lap steel on this track. Toby Keith joins Sammy for a cover of Jimmy Buffet’s “Margaretville.” Jimmy Buffett musically doesn’t speak to me, but like I’ve said a couple of times now it’s fun for me, as a fan, to hear Sammy sing different styles and “Margaretville” is no exception.

I love love love Nancy Wilson. Nancy Wilson joins Sammy Hagar on the hang out beach tune “All we need is an Island.” I love that song, it makes me want to just relax and have a cocktail. Sammy Hagar and friends is a must for Sammy Hagar fans. The album includes Kid Rock, Neal Schon, Joe Satriani, Michael Anthony, Chad Smith, Bill Church, Nancy Wilson, Ronnie Dunn, Toby Keith, Vic Johnson and several more.

 BYLINE: Bob Zerull is the Managing Editor of Zoiks! Online. He writes pop culture commentary, does interviews with bands, and reviews music and stand-up concerts. He also administers Zoiks! Online's Facebook page. Follow Bob on twitter at bzerull. Email Bob at
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