Frank Carillo takes the lessons learned from three decades supporting rock luminaries and makes an album that sounds like a synthesis of the music of three decades of rock luminaries.
It’s a shame that there isn’t really an equivalent in music awards to the Best Supporting Actor Oscar. If there were, Frank Carillo would almost certainly have been in the running more than once in his long career. The list of leading-name musicians for whom Carillo has backed, opened, or written is long -- Peter Frampton, Joan Jett and the Blackhearts, John Hammond, Tom Petty, Carly Simon, even Led Zeppelin. Carillo has no doubt picked up many tricks during his thirty-plus years playing just in the shadows of these luminaries, and on Someday, his latest album with his band the Bandoleros, the skilled workmanship Carillo has developed in his long career is undeniable.
Unfortunately, the trouble with a clean, crafted musical style developed alongside the figures who set the musical agenda for three decades is that occasionally that music comes out sounding a lot like most other music you’ve heard for the past three decades. Someday is a sturdy, tuneful album, but it is full of the kinds of vaguely familiar songs that you might flip past on a classic rock radio station without quite being able to identify the artist. Carillo has the voice of a rock archetype -- somewhere between Springsteen and Petty -- and Someday sounds a bit like a classic rock archetypal album -- hitting all of the general notes without providing any distinguishing specificity. The album coasts through 1960s British-style folk rock and Springsteen-esque anthems and blues rock shuffles, and it’s all quite affable but overly consonant. It’s as if Carillo and band were so eager to pull in everything that they’ve learned from the rock greats that they forgot the rock greats’ greatest lesson -- to step out from the masses to the front of the crowd.