Smith Kotzen - Smith Kotzen

Smith Kotzen – Smith Kotzen


The Smith Kotzen duo are two blokes who bring a wealth of experience to this brand new project, which on paper appears to be a masterstroke.

Written by: gdmonline

ARTIST: Smith Kotzen
ALBUM: Smith Kotzen
YEAR: 2021


LINEUP: Adrian Smith – vocals, guitars, bass * Richie Kotzen – vocals, guitars, bass, drums

Additional Musicians: Tal Bergman, Nicko McBrain – drums

TRACK LISTING: 01 Taking My Chances * 02 Running * 03 Scars * 04 Some People * 05 Glory Road * 06 Solar Fire * 07 You Don’t Know Me * 08 I Wanna Stay * 09 ‘Til Tomorrow

RATING: Score of 95%



Smith Kotzen are two blokes who bring a wealth of experience to this brand new project, which on paper appears to be a masterstroke. Their union came about as both are near neighbours in Los Angeles and have known each other for ages, plus the forced lockdowns required a new strategy to create new music other than across the digital domain of the Internet.

So the boys headed off to and recorded this in a Caribbean studio during February 2020 just prior to the COVID outbreak, but it’s taken a year to bring the final output to fruition. Yes, some things are worth waiting for, as the ‘Smith Kotzen’ album is a smoking performance from these two accomplished musicians.

Smith Kotzen Band pic 2021

The Songs

The lads head out on the highway with ‘Taking My Chances’, full to the brim with overdriven rhythm guitar coupled with some fluid guitar fills. We’re off to a great start. ‘Running’ lives up to its name, and heads into melodic hard rock territory though this direction is the exception rather than the rule.

‘Scars’ is a pure bluesy effort with bucket loads of soul. Loving the mournful guitar parts too. ‘Some People’ is a song that talks about those people that get under your skin. Like that pretend Joe Biden bloke.. ‘come on man, let’s do a press conference!’ ‘Glory Road’ takes us deep into the southern rock hinterland, just like 70’s era Lynyrd Skynyrd used to.

Smith Kotzen lift the tempo on ‘Solar Fire’, this one easily lives in the 70’s decade, I am reminded of Glenn Hughes from his heyday. ‘You Don’t Know Me’ pulls up the anchor ever so slightly, chugging away in mid temp mode, but it’s those soaring lead vocals that is the winner here.

‘I Wanna Stay’ could be described as a ballad, it’s a mellower affair with southern and classic rock leanings, but the guitar solo/noodling is one to listen out for. If these guys can write music like this year in and year out I’d be a happy man. ‘Til Tomorrow’ takes us out, lifting for one final bout of sonically charged classic rock with big ‘everything’, drums, vocals, and of course guitar. Check out that mammoth closing sequence where the solo just hits you between the eyes.

In Summary

I’m loving the retro feel of the Smith Kotzen album and hearing all the tonal varieties being created. If you’re a guitar nerd you’ll be in your element. At nine tracks, this album sits nicely in the Goldilocks zone and definitely won’t overstay its welcome.

If you enjoyed prior pairings like Whitford St Holmes, Hughes Thrall or Coverdale/Page, then Smith Kotzen is another to add to the list. The classic rock meets bluesy vibe is given a new interpretation, one in which we can enjoy in 2021 but pretending we’re still stuck in the 70’s. Totally recommended.


Taking My Chances

Smith/Kotzen - Taking My Chances (Official Video)

Smith/Kotzen - Running (Official Lyric Video)

Smith/Kotzen - Scars (Official Video)

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