Wim R. : Ron Keel? In the eighties he was relatively successful with his band Keel. Hair metal at its finest. Especially albums like ‘The Right To Rock’ and ‘The Final Frontier’ added to this success, but the involvement from Kiss bass player Gene Simmons surely helped. Simmons produced both albums. In the early years Ron Keel was even part of the band Steeler with one Yngwie Malmsteen. When Keel broke up for good, Ron tried to boost his career with the band Blind Faith, where all his fellow bandmembers were female, not very successful. From the year 2000 Ron noticed that country was the next big thing. He renamed himself Ronnie Lee Keel and released some full on country albums, again not so successful.
Now Ron was faced with a dilemma. How do I continue my career the right way? But Keel did not choose between hardrock or country, but blended the two together. And so Ron became the first, self-proclaimed, metal cowboy. This album was already released back in 2014, but gets a re release with new mastering and a bonus track in the form of a Kiss cover ‘Rock And Roll Hell’. Strangely this song is missing in the available promo. Ron his new band, called The Ron Keel Band will release their first album this year, called ‘Fight Like A Band’. So, this album, recorded with only session musicians, is an appetizer for what is to come. And, this is indeed a mixture of hardrock and country. Only opening track ‘My Bad’ lacks country influences (and is one of the stronger tracks on offering here). Other songs do have a strong country ring to them, examples are ‘Just Like Tennessee’ and ‘What Would Skynyrd Do’. In this song there is even a real saloon like piano solo. And the cowboy modus maintains throughout the album. In ‘Singers, Hookers and Thieves’ there is a guest appearance from Rough Cutt singer Paul Shortino giving Keel a free lesson in soulful singing while he is at it. Dreadful song by the way. ‘Wild Forever’ is a bit more upbeat, but simple in approach and execution. It is not getting more American and simpler than this. This is not a bad album, with a pretty good production, but if this is what we can expect from the new album, my bet is that Ron Keel will be mainly touring the rodeo and country fair circuit. Bu that is the choice he made and he is stuck with it. He will make a decent buck, I am sure about that, but worldwide fame is further away than ever.