Roadcase Royale is a new six piece band led by guitarist Nancy Wilson of Heart and vocalist Liv Warfield, formerly of Prince’s New Power Generation outfit. Warfield’s musical director and Prince protégé Ryan Waters handles lead guitar duties and the band is rounded off with current members of Heart Chris Joyner on keyboards, Ben Smith on drums, and Dan Rothchild on bass guitar. The band has already turned in some impressive live performances and their first single, “Get Loud”, is the best sort of modern rock with a groove-centric edge. The song has superb production and a rousing, but tasteful, chorus hooking listeners even deeper into the song. There’s never any feeling that this is a star vehicle for Wilson and Warfield alone – instead, Roadcase Royale feels like a full-fledged band from the song’s opening notes and that impression only deepens over the song’s duration.
The song kicks off with Waters’ and Wilson’s guitars laying down some fat lines before the song segues into its first verse. The guitars lay back during the verses and the musicians concentrate on locking down the track’s fine groove. They return for the chorus to spectacular effect. It isn’t surprising considering the talent behind this release, but construction is one of the strong points about this performance. It scarcely runs over the three minute mark, yet it feels like it accomplishes everything it sets out to do without ever having to rush. Another notable fact about this performance is how, despite the instrumental talents the band brings to bear, there are no supposed virtuoso moments here or extended instrumental breaks. This isn’t a song calling for such treatment. Instead, the six piece sings and plays to a common end that further enhances the track’s overall quality.
Warfield’s voice is impressive enough to hazard a guess this is a singer capable of all things. She understands the value of modulation for effect and her vocals rise and fall in all the right places and slow burn with sultriness and an ample dollop of soul. She excels, particularly, on the chorus and never goes in for hogging the spotlight. Much like her instrumental counterparts, every facet of her performance is geared towards helping the song breathe better and seize listener’s imaginations. There are some backing vocals, lightly applied, coming in on the chorus that further strengthens this element in the song. The lyrics have a social consciousness, but it’s never phrased in terms of dogma. Instead, Roadcase Royale’s point of view doesn’t care little for the sweeping, broad-swath of ideas so dominating our public discourse and, instead, places their call to storm the ramparts from a very, personal place. “Get Loud” may never get loud, but anyone looking for rock and roll anthems is advised to go elsewere. Instead, RoadcaseEoyale uses just the right touch of the personal will immensely enjoy this obvious labor of love. Nancy Wilon has collaborated on a number of seminal recordings, but Roadcase Royale’s single may be one of her best recordings ever.