James Lee Stanley & Dan Navarro – All Wood And Led (2022)

Posted by Green on December 21, 2022
in folk

320 | FLAC


“What if Led Zeppelin had lived in Laurel Canyon in 1967 instead of England?” That was the premise for this brilliant collection of Zep songs reimagined by two singer-songwriter and acoustic guitar giants. James Lee Stanley (a folkie who opened for Les Paul in the Seventies and went on to perform with everyone from Bonnie Raitt to Robin Williams) and Dan Navarro (one-half of the underrated pop-rock duo Lowen & Navarro, and cousins with Dave Navarro of Jane’s Addiction/Red Hot Chili Peppers fame) have re-imagined some of band’s most classic material into songs that reflect the laid-back California sound defined by the likes of Stephen Stills, Joni Mitchell, David Crosby and Roger McGuinn. Limited percussion and bass accent these versions, but Stanley and Navarro do all of the heavy lifting.

In fact, Stanley has said that making this album took two years and hundreds of studio hours to find “just the right approach.” Mission accomplished, even though some of the Stanley/Navarro versions are almost unrecognizable from the originals: “Rock and Roll” morphs into a dark ballad that conjures aural images of Crosby, Stills & Nash, for example, and “Whole Lotta Love” could have been an early Santana cut. Navarro’s gruff, weathered voice blends well with Stanley’s higher, subtler vocals.

The entire album — 12 songs in less than 42 minutes — manages to ooze more respect for the music than other, more faithful tributes to Zeppelin by more obvious artists, and you’ll be tempted to spin this one several times in a row to pick up on the all of the nuances.

What a cool way to re-experience Zeppelin’s music — which, admit it, you might have gotten just a wee bit tired of hearing over the decades. Listening to this album makes me want to go back and devour 2005’s All Wood and Stones, 2013’s All Wood and Stones II and 2011’s All Wood and Doors — Stanley’s tributes to other artists whose work could use a creative acoustic kick in the ass.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *