God & Guns
Gary Rossington may be the only original member left — most of the band has met with tragedy — and singer Johnny Van Zant may never equal his older brother Ronnie’s empathetic Southern drawl, but with ex-Blackfoot guitarist Rickey Medlocke aboard, there are still plenty of chances to build on the legacy. A few tunes here strike a definite nerve. “Southern Ways” chimes with a lick reminiscent of “Sweet Home Alabama” but slowed by age. “Unwrite That Song” beats with a country song’s heart. “Floyd” rattles with a nasty hook and guest vocals from Rob Zombie. The title track uses a subtler acoustic touch. “Skynyrd Nation” huffs and puffs with the bravado one might expect from an intended anthem (Van Zant even calls for everyone to “put your hands in the air” with a sly, demented laugh). The production, however, obscures some of the better moments. “Still Unbroken” and “Simple Life” are solid tunes that use a hard- rock band’s attack and a wall of sound where you need to listen closer to hear the intricacies that have always made Lynyrd Skynyrd one of the greats.