Even nearly half a century after their debut, Foghat is still a band that is touring and recording. Under the Influence is the seventeenth studio album from the classic rockers, and their first release of studio material since Last Train Home in 2010.
Foghat has been steadily entertaining audiences over the years, being well known for classic cuts like “Slow Ride” and “Fool for the City,” both of which remain massive hits on classic rock radio. The band has been no stranger to tragedy over the years, with classic vocalist Lonesome Dave Peverett’s death in 2000, and lead guitarist Rod Price’s passing in 2005. Currently, Foghat consists of drummer Roger Earl (the only original member still present), bassist Craig MacGregor (an on-again off-again member since the latter half of the 70s), guitarist Bryan Bassett (formerly of Wild Cherry and with Foghat since 1999), and vocalist/guitarist Charlie Huhn (formerly of Ted Nugent’s band, and with the band since 2000).
I am not sure anyone out there was expecting a new Foghat album…. but we have gotten one! This lineup of the band has been consistent for just over a decade now, and they have certainly proven themselves capable of keeping the Foghat name alive. But how does their new album measure up, and is the quartet still able to deliver a finished product that holds its own?
Under the Influence will not be mistake for a 70s Foghat album; there is definitely more of a modern and blues-driven rock sound here. The bluesy riffs are fantastic, and the songs are plenty of fun to listen to, with a few of them even containing laugh out loud lyrics. The cover of “Heard it Through the Grapevine” is surprisingly good, feeling like something of a cross between the Marvin Gaye and Creedence Clearwater Revival versions. Topping it all off is a rerecorded version of the band’s biggest hit, “Slow Ride,” which holds up surprisingly well and shows how capable the current incarnation of the band is, including with doing justice to a classic.
This fan is sure plenty of people have “written off” Foghat due to the deaths of so many key classic members. But with so much talent on deck, the naysayers are shooting themselves in the foot by overlooking this fantastic new record from the band. If you are a classic rock fan, it is worth seeing what the group has been up to. Under the Influence is their first record since 2010, and it is good to see that this one was worth the wait. Highly recommended!