The last thing I ever expected to type in a blog were the names Brian May and Brantley Gilbert in the same sentence.
And yet, here we are.
Brian May of course, is the iconic guitarist for the band Queen. Brantley is a backwoods, rough-and-tumble country star. But, they’re together on a new song, spearheaded by yet another unlikely source: the hard rock band Five Finger Death Punch. And, oh yeah, blues guitarist/singer Kenny Wayne Shepard is part of this thing too.
Good. It’s all part of an effort by Five Finger Death Punch to honor first responders, and, according to a tweet from the band, all proceeds from digital sales of the song will directly benefit the Gary Sinise Foundation, which aids first responders and their families.
The song was written by Kenny Wayne Shepard and appeared on his 1997 album, “The Trouble Is…” He said he loves the fact that the song is a blend of several different genres.
So why the wide swath of musical heritage on one song? FFDP guitarist Zoltan Bathory says, “What better way to make a difference than to join forces with some of our friends in country, blues and classic rock who happen to be some of the biggest names in those genres and together celebrate these heroes?”
Can’t argue with that.
For his part, Gilbert, who trades vocals with FFDP lead singer Ivan L. Moody (and holds his own quite nicely), says when he was told who else would be on the song (which he’s sung in concert for years) he jumped at the chance, adding that he thinks the collaboration “works brilliantly”.
He’s not wrong. The song rocks, hard, but has a startling air of poignancy when coupled with imagery in the accompanying video of first responders in action (many of whom are Cal-Fire). And the two guitar solos–first from blues master Shepard, the second from the living legend May, will probably have you head banging at your desk by the time it’s all over.
So before you listen, take a look around and make sure the boss is busy. Then put on your headphones and crank it to 11. And buy a copy if you can. It’s for a great cause.