ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, AUG. 6, 2009
By Steve Newton
If you’re the type of person who makes the rounds of Vancouver’s live-music joints there’s a good chance you’ve already heard a lick or two from guitarist Scott Smith. His blues-rock trio, Terminal Station, has enjoyed a residency at Capones in Yaletown; Bottleneck, the country-roots quartet he fronts with Robyn Carrigan, has been gigging around town for years; and he’s been known to plug in at the Railway Club whenever his buddy Rich Hope requires the company of another Evil Doer.
Rolling All Night is proof that Terminal Station—which includes bassist Jeremy Holmes and drummer Liam MacDonald—is the ideal soundtrack for a night of getting liquored up and hitting the town.
The all-original, 12-song disc, recorded by Christopher Woudstra at Burnaby’s Emerson Street Studios, kicks off with the title track, a straightforward boogie number that relates the joys of being in a traveling band, rollin’ all night with the radio on. “Fill up the tank and load up the van,” croons Smith, “you’ll never see the world with a backup plan.”
He saves his twangiest, Brian Setzer–brand guitar wipeouts for the following tune, “Slow Down Annie”, a spare rockabilly workout that—thanks in part to Holmes’s sturdy standup bass—pays authentic homage to the heyday of Sun Records.
Holmes’s loping bass also steps up to drive the tale of financial woe, “Dollar Bill”, and a tasty harmonica solo by the Twisters’ Dave “Hurricane” Hoerl inspires Smith to, in guitar-freak parlance, “stand on it”. The quality level drops a notch with the contrived “Rock This Room”, which owes a tad too much to the Stray Cats’ “Rock This Town”, but just when you think Rolling All Night might be starting to run low on gas, along comes the rejuvenating “Airbrake”, a Holmes-penned instrumental in which Smith deftly channels the shit-kicker spirit of pedal-steel legend Speedy West.
Local Hammond organ great Darryl Havers lays the simmering groundwork for “Why Are We Fighting”, a reggae-fied commentary on personal turmoil and world troubles. His keyboards are also prominently featured on the CD’s longest track, the five-minute–plus “Crawfish”, a heavily percussive instrumental that lifts Smith up onto the Fillmore East stage, circa 1968, and plants him right next to Carlos Santana. Rolling All Night ends with a welcome blast of slide-guitar on “Ruin Me Baby”, in which Smith shamelessly hijacks the riveting riff from Muddy Waters’s “Rollin’ and Tumblin’ ”.
But who can blame him for that?