Billy Roberts and the Rough Riders - 'Only One'

Independent Spotlight is a continuing series on Stewart’s blog. The series revolves around independent artists and bands sending their music to Brett to review. No band is promised a positive review, and all music is reviewed honestly in an effort to better independent music.

Twice here on the Independent Spotlight last year I was highly complimentary of Billy Roberts and the Rough Riders, an Australian rock group that injects their sound with healthy doses of pop, country, and blues influence. In December, I raved about their single ‘Blood and Bones,’ the second insight into their upcoming album, ‘Greenbah.’ The band has now released their third single for the LP, a tune called ‘Only One.’ Is it worth giving a spin? Let’s find out.

‘Only One’ has more of a country influence than its predecessors, aligning into the same sonic territory as perhaps The Allman Brothers or the like. Even though Billy Roberts and company are an Australian group, they definitely have thematic roots to southern rock and roll in the United States. ‘Only One’ is a smooth talking, suave ballad that’s complemented by lovely performances on behalf of all the Rough Riders. Alex Quinn on lead guitar and Rory Facione on drums are both in fine form.

“Your spirit resonates in me,” Roberts croons in a vulnerable track that’s both lyrically and musically simplistic. ‘Only One’ is the kind of single you can draw the windows down on a hot summer night and blare out of the car stereo. It’s infectious, perfectly capturing the innocence of love without any of the baggage that comes with it. Of the three tracks we’ve showcased here on the Spotlight, ‘Only One’ is the Billy Roberts tune that shows the artist’s “softer” side.

I do, however, want to note that the vocal mix of ‘Only One’ is very buried and muffled. The production does well by the instrumentation, but Roberts sounds like he’s singing underwater. There has actually been a slow degradation in vocal quality of the band’s mixes, too, with 2016’s ‘Little Johnny’ offering their best mix and ‘Blood and Bones’ offering one somewhere in between. ‘Only One’ could really do with a remix and master to have it stack up against its counterparts on the upcoming ‘Greenbah’ album.

As per usual, Billy Roberts and the Rough Riders are worth taking a listen to. Even though the vocal mix goes a tad awry, ‘Only One’ is a very pleasant track that’s a good, simplistic jam that you’ll find yourself spinning on repeat. Check out the band below.