Sound — 10
In 1991 Richie Sambora, lead guitarist of Bon Jovi, released his first personal record "Stranger In This Town". Surprisingly, the album has nothing, or very little, to do with the sound the prior Bon Jovi records and smash hits. Although it was Richie along with Jon that wrote most of the 80's material, Stranger In This Town has another direction, more personal, more soulful and less directed to the conquest of pop charts. No pop-metal riffs, no shredding and fast keyboards like 7800 Fahrenheit, Slippery When Wet and New Jersey. Sambora creates an album full of blues riffs and melodic solo. There are keyboards and layers everywhere, creating an atmosphere that personally reminds me of Tony Joe White. Forget the Kramer days, mr Sambora plays mainly the Strat in this album and he plays from the heart. Songs like Church of Desire and Father Time are pure magic musically, while others like River of Love and Rosie are straight rock & roll. Blazing solos are not absent in the album but Sambora prefers to use them wisely and its clear that he takes a distant from the hair metal shredding and tremolo techniques of the prior decade. The production of the album is great and the other members of the band are doing a great job. Tico Tores is playing the drums and David Bryan is behind the keyboards.
Lyrics — 9
The lyrics are about love, pain and loneliness. But in a deeper, bluesier way than before. Sambora writes with the help of Jon Bon Jovi and Desmond Child and some of his work like One Light Burning and The Answer is really poetical. Richie's voice is amazing, it sounds like a very subjective statement but its very honest. The man really knows how to sing. His voice is strong, masculin and very bluesy and together with the lyrics it complies perfectly with the music.
Overall Impression — 9
As it is for a hole music era, 1991 is like a "fin de siecle" for Richie Sambora too. From now on he slowly changes his musical directions into a style that will charecterise both him and Bon Jovi in the 90's. But this album "Stranger In this Town" is probably his finest hour in every possible aspect. My favourite songs from the album are the title track, Church of Desire, One Light Burning and Father Time. If it was stolen I would buy it again.