Feel-Good Rock 'n' Roll

Jay Stewart and Friends

Jay Stewart

By Kevin Gibson

Louisville native Jay Stewart has family to thank for his love of classic rock he learned how to play guitar on his brother's six-string and got to meet Joe Walsh in 1976 when Jay's uncle Lou Stewart was working on production during the "Hotel California" era of the Eagles.

Not long after, the young Stewart had his very own Guild guitar and was writing his very own songs.

The songs collected on his recent EP, Jay Stewart and Friends, reflect his 1970s influences in spades. The opening track, "Here & Now," is a quintessential '70s radio-rocker in the vein of Foghat, while "Hang On" shows the Eagles influence, right down to the smooth Walsh-esque guitar runs.

"You & Me" is a bluesy rocker that is tailor-made for drinking a few beers and thinking back on what was and what might have been. "Back Home," meanwhile, turns things down just a notch, and employs some country inspiration. "All the Same" draws a bit from Jackson Browne, complete with shiny vocals and shimmering guitar, over a mid-tempo beat. (Of course, Browne never sang about the Ohio River or Kentucky Bluegrass.)

Stewart has put together a very listenable group of songs here with the help of plenty of friends: Terry Malone, Turley Richards, Greg Foresman, and more. The instrumentation is precise, and the recording slick.

If this were 1976? Yeah, this guy would probably be on the Top 40 Billboard charts. It isn't 1976, but don't hold that against Stewart. This is worth a spin.

Get more at jaystewartsongs.com.