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Concrete

Izzy Stradlin

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Album Review

As the world waited with bated breath for Axl Rose to unleash Chinese Democracy in 2008, Izzy Stradlin quietly slipped out Concrete, his fourth download-only release and his ninth album since Use Your Illusion, the last time Guns N' Roses released original material. Izzy left GNR because he didn't like the spotlight but surely the inactivity would have eventually driven him crazy, too, as he wanted nothing more than to be a working rock & roller, working according to his own schedule, recording simply whenever he wanted. There's a lot of merit to Stradlin's methods — he's every bit the recluse as Axl, but he can actually bring a project to conclusion — although listening to Concrete is a little frustrating given its self-conscious limitations. Stradlin's old-fashioned rock & roll — not so much proud as simply matter of fact — isn't a limitation but the very casualness of Concrete is, as the tunes can feel tossed-off and the production is thin and gray, needing a bit of grit or wallop that it never gets. Even if Concrete winds up too modest for its own good, its modesty is charming, especially when he's revving up a messy rocker like "Knuckleheads" or laying into an easy acoustic groove on "I Know," effortlessly evoking the ghost of Ronnie Lane. These are reminiscent of what Izzy did best in the heydays of Guns N' Roses, and while Concrete as a whole is a little uneven, it's nice to know that he still has it in him to create songs as humbly terrific as this.

Biography

Born: 08 April 1962 in Lafayette, IN

Genre: Rock

Years Active: '80s, '90s, '00s, '10s

The gals dug Axl and the musicians dug Slash, but the man in the back, guitarist Izzy Stradlin, was just as much an integral part of Guns N' Roses. Stradlin's exit from the group in 1991 also signaled the beginning of the end for G N' R, as they became more of the "Axl Rose Show" and less of a full-fledged band. Born in Lafayette, Indiana on April 8, 1962, Stradlin (whose real name is Jeff Isbell) developed a deep appreciation of the Rolling Stones and particularly Keith Richards. It wasn't long...
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Concrete, Izzy Stradlin
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