by Devon McReynolds
When I first saw Joe Rohan’s new album These Days, I misread the name as “Joe Rogan”, thinking that it was none other than the host of NBC’s hit reality show Fear Factor. I was super excited – anticipating another awesome television star to pop sensation crossover (i.e. Hilary Duff). But with another look at the actual album, I realized my mistake, and, saddened by my misinterpretation, felt like I needed some good music to cheer me up. So These Days went into my CD player – but my feelings were rather mixed after I listened to it.
The first track on the album, “Desert Love” is not a clear indicator of the variety of music that encompasses the rest of Rohan’s album. His voice is typical to that of a popular country musician; twangy, high-pitched, and even yodel-like at times, which biased me at the beginning. Things got musically better in “Lovestruck Romeo”, which has a more bluesy sound to it than the previous song, but Rohan makes a lyrical faux pas by mentioning a “sweet love like an opium rain”. I don’t know about you, but an opium rain doesn’t seem too pleasant.
“Angeline” is the strongest song on the album, which echoes the classic rock guitar riffs of an early Neil Young or Lynyrd Skynyrd. The soulful harmonica throughout the song is a nice touch that adds to the yearning lyrics. “Cold Winter Day” is the most poignant of Rohan’s songs, again using the harmonica in the background to emphasize his lyrics “she flashed a smile as she walked by/ I felt it burning in my feet/ would you fly to me love/ fly me away from this cold winter day.”
While These Days has some negatives to it (like country foot-stomper “Ring of Fire” or cheesy lyrics like on “Lovestruck Romeo”), overall it is a decent display of Rohan’s songwriting abilities, which have earned him several accolades. If Joe Rogan offered me a choice between jumping from a helicopter into a vat of scorpions, or listening to Joe Rohan’s These Days, I would most likely choose the latter.