Damn Near Righteous – is Bill Medley’s first record since the untimely passing of Bobby Hatfield (Medley’s partner in the Righteous Brothers). This album honors thier legacy and showcases the singular artistry of Bill Medley in his own right….Damn Near Righteous features a soulful reimagining of the Beach Boys hit “In My Room” performed with Beach Boy frontman Brian Wilson and Phil Everly of the Everly Brothers….As an added bonus – Damn Near Righteous includes a 40 minute DVD featuring archival concert footage and interviews with Bill Medley, Brian Wilson, and many other music luminaries.
As anyone who has seen An Officer and a Gentleman knows, Bill Medley had a thriving solo career outside of his work as one-half of the Righteous Brothers. Still, his solo catalog has been erratic and it has been a decade since his last release. Coaxed back into the studio after the death of singing partner Bobby Hatfield, Medley wraps his gravelly, baritone pipes around a dozen songs, all of them enhanced by his husky voice. It’s an eclectic set highlighted by covers of Ray Charles’ “Lonely Avenue,” the Meters’ “Trick Bag,” Dylan’s “Just Like a Woman,” and the Beach Boys’ “In My Room.” The latter is accompanied by Phil Everly and old California chum Brian Wilson for a stripped-down, spiritually charged version of the classic. Ballads dominate the set list but when Medley digs into a bluesy rocker such as “I’ll Find Someone Who Will,” it’s clear the singer hasn’t lost an ounce of his booming power as he punches through the tune like a seasoned veteran. The subtle piano and string arrangements on softer fare like “Beautiful,” “California Goodbye,” and “Two Lives” (also reprised as an emotional disc-closing duet with his daughter) spotlight the natural drama and passion in Medley’s voice. It’s an impressive, consistently classy and welcome return for one of American pop music’s most recognizable and dramatic voices. –Hal Horowitz