So What

So What

So What is Joe Walsh’s first solo effort without the aid of his band Barnstorm. While he parted ways with Kenny Passarelli and Rocke Grace, Walsh retained the services of Barnstorm’s virtuosic drummer Joe Vitale, who had become the guitarist’s main musical foil. Anchored by the pile-driving grooves of “Welcome to the Club,” “Time Out” and “Turn To Stone” So What is Walsh’s hardest rocking album since James Gang’s Rides Again. “Pavanne” is a ramble through a tangle of alien synths, while “All Night Laundry Mat Blues” is a druggy hootenanny. These tongue-in-cheek sonic detours are partially inspired by Todd Rundgren’s work from the same period. Rundgren was an obviously model for Walsh’s music, and like Rundgren, Walsh is a fanatic for sonic detail. Thus So What is a work of masterful engineering, representing an entire range of tonal color with total clarity. This is an ambitious work, with moments of grandiosity (“Song for Emma”), raw rock (“Time Out”) and poignancy (“Help Me Thru the Night”). For maximum enjoyment, find the perfect pair of vintage headphones, get a little tipsy, and lose yourself.

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