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32 of 35 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Rock & Roll (through Lynyrd Skynyrd) Lives On
Anytime Lynyrd Skynyrd comes out with a new CD, infrequently as that maybe, the reaction is almost universally the same: They're not as good as the original. Well, how could they be? Skynyrd was born of a bunch of high school friends who learned all the facets of their craft together, plus Ed King (good), Billy Powell (great) and later Steve Gaines (brilliant). Few...
Published on December 1, 2009 by J. Culuris

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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars The music fans that grew up with this band don't listen to this junk anymore.
The VERY THING that made Ronnie Van Zants band is just not here. Namely song writing, deep,meaningful lyrics, songs that endure. This is not that band. Or even a shadow of it. Dumb dumb shallow lyrics geared to drunk rednecks. A lot of people dismissed early Skynyrd because of the image they portrayed,but I never met anyone after listening to the original band that...
Published 8 months ago by Glenn W.


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32 of 35 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Rock & Roll (through Lynyrd Skynyrd) Lives On, December 1, 2009
By 
J. Culuris (Charlotte, NC) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
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This review is from: God & Guns (Audio CD)
Anytime Lynyrd Skynyrd comes out with a new CD, infrequently as that maybe, the reaction is almost universally the same: They're not as good as the original. Well, how could they be? Skynyrd was born of a bunch of high school friends who learned all the facets of their craft together, plus Ed King (good), Billy Powell (great) and later Steve Gaines (brilliant). Few bands can compare with this, let alone replaces the pieces taken away by the famous plane crash that killed Ronnie Van Zant and Gaines, among others. A downgrade was inevitable.

Johnny Van Zant on his best day is a passable singer. He has bad days. And if Ricky Medlocke was good enough originally, Ronnie would have kept him around. Instead he moved on to Blackfoot, a band not in any way in Skynyrd's class. Only Guitarist Randall Hall was worthy of the Skynyrd tradition, and he's been gone for years.

But that doesn't mean Skynyrd's second incarnation can't rock. The tribute tour gave of us a very good reworking of Swamp Music. 1991 offered "The End of the Road." The Last Rebel, the album, represents their best work. And there's scattering of very good rock since: "Good Luck, Bad Luck"; "Talked Myself Right into It"; "Rockin' Little Town"; "Mad Hatter."

And that, too, is the best description of God & Guns: Solid Rock. Though, as with most things, it has its highs and lows. Of course there had to be highs. Gary Rossington is still with them. And Billy Powell, but sadly only for five songs due to his death in January of '09.

But more importantly, a major low has been removed. Johnny Van Zant has finally gotten away from the heavy-handed way in which he has always delivered his messages. I believed this self-revelation was revealed in the line "I ain't here to preach no sermon" from "Right-Side Up," off Van Zant's Brother to Brother, a truly great rock CD. This realization was a long time coming. Just make your point, as passionately and cleverly as you can; the rest takes care of itself. To wit:

Still Unbroken:
A song about surviving life with your true self intact. Nothing preachy here; just straight-ahead lyrics. An effective way to open the CD.

Simple Life:
The opening verse is as close as Johnny gets to Preach Mode. But quickly the song veers back toward the subject reflected in the title. Not as good as Still Unbroken, but far from bad.

A Little Thing Called You:
Back to a staple of all music: love songs, or busted love songs, as the case may be. This is the latter. Again, solid rock n' roll.

Southern Ways:
Remove the second verse, which applies to Skynyrd directly, and I can picture Tim McGraw singing this. Perhaps a touch too mellow for classic rock, but still worthy of Skynyrd, which has a long history of dipping into both country and blues.

Skynyrd Nation:
Unfortunately, considering the subject, one of the lesser efforts. Though sporting some good guitar work, the vocalists seem to get carried away beyond proportion to the song. Here enthusiasm is a detriment.

Unwrite That Song:
Easily the best song on the CD, and the best ballad from the Skynyrd family since Johnny's Brickyard Road gave us "Love Is Not Enough." Not to be missed and should be a radio perennial.

Floyd:
Another example of getting carried away to detriment of the song. I hate deriding artistic integrity--you have to play it the way you feel it--but the insipid repetition of one word (more than once, even) ruins a potentially great effort.

That Ain't My America:
Here it is. Their beliefs out front for all to hear but not a sermon in sight. This is how it's done.

Comin' Back for More:
Some of the phrasing is reminiscent of Van Zant's "Show Me." That's not necessarily a bad thing. A good song is a good song.

God & Guns:
You can probably guess the subjects. Pure politics in a song that changes tempo in the tradition of "Freebird" and "The Last Rebel." Works for me.

Storm:
Another quality cut. Nothing great but it doesn't have to be. Again, good is good enough.

Gifted Hands:
Like Mad Hatter was in memory of bassist Leon Wilkinson, this one's for Billy. When their heart is completely involved in a piece, Skynyrd is magic. It's just unfortunate that it was necessary. It doesn't even matter that the lines in the chorus don't rhyme. Rest in Peace, Billy

Bang Bang:
The over enthusiasm that ruins "Skynyrd Nation" and "Floyd" is kept in check here. The song is by no means frivolous but fun was had too. Fervor done right.

Raining in My Heartland:
Not all the images and their connections work, but enough do. Heart and a great tune help.

Hobo Kinda Man:
A throwback song. Works for what it is.

The Live Tracks ("Red White & Blue," "Call Me the Breeze," "Sweet Home Alabama"):
Financially I can't complain about filling out the disc with these performances as we were not overcharged for the second disc. But considering live CDs are all that Skynyrd have released over the last decade or so (and another on the way, I hear) it can get wearing. OTOH, since we'll never get to hear Billy play live again, I'll take it.

This could well be Skynyrd's last CD of original material. It SHOULD be if we lose Rossington, the only surviving active member, along with his wife. But there are conflicting emotions here. I understand Johnny has dedicated his life to, as stated in "Rockin' LittleTown": "Makin' good music, keeping it alive. . . ." And yet the second verse of "The Last Rebel" was about Rossington:

'Cause he's the last rebel and he's all alone
He's the last rebel, his friends are all gone. . . .

That's how I see him. Maybe it should end with him. But I have to admit that Billy Powell was my favorite and it's just not the same without him. My view is skewed. If this is their Last Hurrah, however, I'm satisfied.

For Skynyrd fans: B+
For those who just know the hits: B-
For Amazon's rating system: 4 Stars
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37 of 43 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The music lives on...., September 29, 2009
This review is from: God & Guns (Audio CD)
"God and Guns"..... I bought the two disc special which contains six extra cuts. I see a lot of people referencing this album as more of a "country music" type album. I disagree. What people have to realize is that its not Skynyrd sounding "country" its current day country music sounding more and more like "Skynyrd".

This album has OUTSTANDING studio quality sound. The guitars scream loud and clear, Johnny VanZant does an awesome job delivering the message. The lyrics are strong and true. There is a little bit of something for everybody on this album. The Great "All American" Band. God Bless Lynyrd Skynyrd. The music proudly lives on.
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25 of 30 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Lynyrd Skynyrd "God + Guns" = Songs, Sounds, & Themes like the "Old Time" Skynyrd = 100% OUTSTANDING!!!!!!!, September 30, 2009
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This review is from: God & Guns (Audio CD)
This is a very welcome new release by Lynyrd Skynyrd. This is their first release of new material, since 2003's "Vicious Cycle" Album. This is hard rocking, great, Southern Rock Music, with Southern Themes, and some Strong Messages. Rickey Medlocke said "We've never been a political band, but if you listen to the lyrics, you'll know where we're coming from". This Cd contains all TOTALLY NEW MATERIAL!!!

This album cd was recorded during 2007, 2008, & 2009 mostly in Nashville. Also, during part of this time, Skynyrd was on their "World Tour" with Kid Rock on the "Rock + Rebels" Tour. However, they made time in between gigs to get into the studio and record this ablum. Also, during the recording of this album CD, Ean Evans their bassist, and Billy Powell their piano player, and Original Band Member both died. Roughly half of the songs on this cd include Billy Powell on the piano.

This album cd is dedicated to Ean Evans & Billy Powell.

The liner notes also list some other musicians included in recording this cd, these include John 5 (Marilyn Manson's guitarist), and Rob Zombie.

The Lynyrd Skynyrd Website list the addition of the following new members:
Peter "Keys" Pisarczyk - keyboards - The new keyboard player after Billy's death. He was previously the keyboardist for George Clinton & P.Funk.
Robert Kearns - bass - The new bass player after Eans's death. He was previously the backup bass player for Ian Evans, after Ean was diagnosed with cancer.

The song set is as follows:
1.Still Unbroken (they've been through hell, but ther're still unbroken)
2.Simple Life (kinda has the theme of "Simple Man")
3.Little Thing Called You
4.Southern Ways (This song makes reference to the "hell house", it was the uninsulated, un-air conditioned building, where Ronnie and the guys, would hang out and write songs, and practice.)
5.Skynyrd Nation (This is about 1st, 2nd & 3rd generation, Lynyrd Skynyrd fans forming a "Skynyrd Nation", and about rocking with the rebel flag)
6.Unwrite that Song
7.Floyd

8.That Ain't My America (This one has a strong message about the "wrong direction" this Country is headed in, and includes the lyrics "Sometimes I want to light up beneath a no smoking sign....you can take you Change on down the line & leave me here with mine, Cause that ain't my America, that ain't this country's roots,... kids can't pray in school,$100 tanks of gas, I can tell you right now this Country ain't suppost to be like that...This ain't my America, this ain't this Country's roots, you want to slam ole Uncle Sam, but I ain't lettin' you.....This is for the men & women who hold a Bible & a Gun, and they ain't afraid of nothin', when they're holding either one....")

9.Comin' Back for More

10.God & Guns (Contains a strong message "God & Guns make us strong....."We might as well give up an run, if we let them take our God & Guns", the song mentions that things have changed since the old days, & now you need to lock your doors & have a gun for self defense. This song is different from the Ronnie Van Zant song "Saturday Night Special", I love & I understand both songs. According to the book "Freebirds", by Marley Brant, Ronnie's widow stated, that Ronnie had bought her a .38 Special & taugh her how to use it for self defense. However, she goes on to state that Ronnie was for proper control & use of handguns. He was totally against irresponsible people having access to handguns. But he seemed to be for responsible people,owning handguns, for self protection, as long as the bad guys have their handguns.)

11.Storm,
12.Gifted Hands ( a great tribute song to the ,"gifted hands" of the late/great, original member),& plane crash survivor, Billy Powell.)

The Special Edition double CD, contains an extra disc, with 2 more new studio songs, and 3 live songs, from their 1997 concert at Freedom Hall in Louisville, Kentucky. The studio song "Hobo Kinda Man", is very similiar to the late Ronnie's "Railroad Song", from the "Nothin' Fancy" album.

This is a great one, by the legendary Lynyrd Skynyrd Band, and I highly, gladly recommend it. This band has been through hell many times, but yet they still rock on, just as good as ever. This release is "AWESOME". Thanks, and May God Bless!!!
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31 of 40 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars GET READY TO BE BLOWN AWAY!!, September 29, 2009
By 
Horror writer from TN (Morristown, Tennessee United States) - See all my reviews
This review is from: God & Guns (Audio CD)
LYNYRD SKYNYRD'S new release "God and Guns" is their first album of new material in over 6 years, and after listening to it in its' entirety, I now believe it just may be the first album of really "new" material to come out of a classic Rock and Roll act since the early 1980's.

Every song on this CD stands alone - I'm serious - there are no duds, no clunkers, no fillers - it is amazing from the opening riff to the closing note. Not only will it satisfy fans of the band and classic rock in general, it will also appeal to country music fans and (believe it or not) Metal fans as well. Within the confines of this CD, the boys from the Skynyrd band may well have created a new musical genre (would you call it Southern Country Metal-Lite??). No matter what you'd call it, you WILL call it GREAT MUSIC!

Possibly contributing to the different sound is the fact that they collaborated with unlikely suspects John 5 and Rob Zombie (who appear on the CD - you gotta hear "Floyd" - one of my favorite tracks, along with "Storm" and --- well, the other 10 songs! Truthfully, they are all that good!)

Lynyrd Skynyrd has also reinlisted the guitar army harmonies sound that made their sound so distinct when they first burst on the scene, and now they have incorporated a heavier sound that fits all too perfectly - even though no one (including myself) thought it would have.

What the Lynyrd Skynyrd band has done with this new album is to breathe new life into not only Classic and Southern Rock, but music in general. In an age when everything seems to sound the same, they have given us something that doesn't sound repackaged, but something fresh and exciting. So please, do yourself a favor and get this CD!

In summary, if you only buy one CD this year, make it God and Guns - you will not be sorry.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars God and Guns and Lynyrd Skynyrd, November 3, 2009
By 
Kenny A (Perth, Western Australia) - See all my reviews
This review is from: God & Guns (Audio CD)
We have two 1 star reviews, not on the CD but complaining this is not Skynyrd - I say, get over it!

I also grew up on the Skynyrd diet, loved the music and thought it died in '77 but that was over 30 years ago and those that have said the band has matured and evolved are right. There have been many personel changes and you can't tell me this isn't one of the most unlucky bands around but they have kept the name alive, they did reform as a tribute to the original band, they did reform and they have produced one hell of an album.

Yes the music has changed, yes country has caught up with it but lets face it country music now is more like southern rock than country music ever was back in the seventies so I guess that says everything.

Hey it's 29 years since I last saw Skynyrd live and I know I have matured in that time so why shouldn't the music? I loved Skynyrd back in the 70s, I thought I wouldn't buy another Skynyrd album but through the music of the Rossington Collins Band, the Tribute Tour (where I cringed at the re-recording of traditional classics) to a band today keeping the music and legend alive, people should take these guys as they come, listen to the music as it is today and like the band have done, move on!

God and Guns is an album for today from a bunch of guys that have earned the rights to being Lynyrd Skynyrd. From the heavy entry of Still Unbroken, sounding a little bit like Nickleback through a range of southern classics to the final Gifted Hands, playing the bird for free, this is great southern music and if you think it smacks of country, let me ask where today's country comes from, the American South.

If you can't get over Skynyrd in the 70's don't buy this CD but honestly, you don't know what you're missing.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars The music fans that grew up with this band don't listen to this junk anymore., March 21, 2014
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This review is from: God & Guns (Audio CD)
The VERY THING that made Ronnie Van Zants band is just not here. Namely song writing, deep,meaningful lyrics, songs that endure. This is not that band. Or even a shadow of it. Dumb dumb shallow lyrics geared to drunk rednecks. A lot of people dismissed early Skynyrd because of the image they portrayed,but I never met anyone after listening to the original band that wasn't amazed by the originality, playing,songwriting and lyrics. There is nothing original here. I've been a Rick Medlock and Gary Rossington fan on the earlier version of the new Skynyrd and I can't believe they are associated with this tripe. Save your money.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars skynard favorite, December 12, 2009
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This review is from: God & Guns (Audio CD)
The band really came out with a good one after all these years. Fresh new power gives the listener hope for old rockers like Skynyrd. I like the fact that Rickey Medlock is given songwriting credit on all the songs. He was with the band for a spell during the early days then left to form Blackfoot. He was denied status as a member with the Rock n roll hall of fame when they were honored as members. That was a cheap shot because he has been a major player with Skynyrd for many years. I saw Rickey at the Native American Music Awards and I saw Skynyrd at Buffalo Bills Casino in Primm Valley several years ago. The boys are in their prime!

The new album mixes a harder rock edge with a country groove. Excellent recording! With the dip in Cd sales due to the whole internet transition it is difficult for new music to pay the bills. I wish them success!

Michael Folkert,
Condor Records Inc.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars GREAT!!, April 8, 2013
By 
Boots ("The South") - See all my reviews
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This review is from: God & Guns (Audio CD)
This has to be one of their best! Loved the God and Guns song which we all heard before the CD came out but discovered more songs that have so much meaning. Can't stop playing "That Ain't My America", "Southern Ways", and "Unwrite That Song"! Worth having in anyone's collection who like Skynyrd
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars American rock & roll from a ledgendary band, May 13, 2012
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This review is from: God & Guns (Audio CD)
This band was well over its heyday by the time I was old enough to appreciate music, so i learned of them thanks to the "classic rock" radio stations found all over the dial. Many longtime fans may disagree, but I would rather listen to this album than hear one of their dinosaur tracks whcih have been played to death. Many bands who are past their prime in sales are putting out albums which are comprable, or in the case of God & Guns, BETTER than what made them famous. Clear the cobwebs in your ears and give this a listen.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Not the old Skynyrd, April 12, 2012
This review is from: God & Guns (Audio CD)
In the late 70's a devastating plane crash snuffed out the young life of Lynyrd Skynyrd front man Ronnie Van Zant along with guitarist Steve Gaines and his sister Cassie. That event was truly a Rock n' Roll tragedy not only for the fans of Lynyrd Skynyrd but also for the Van Zant family and for the music world in general.

A few years later, in steps the short-lived revamped group of crash survivors calling themselves the Rossington Collins Band. While they carved out a few memorable tracks, the audience still wanted Skynyrd.

Back in Florida, a young Johnny Van Zant was belting out powerful Southern Rock ballads hoping to start a new chapter in the Van Zant legacy. His two famous brothers, Ronnie of Skynyrd fame, and Donnie who was blazing new trails with his own band .38 Special, were becoming revered names in the world of popular music.

Fast forward to 1987 and the Lynyrd Skynyrd Tribute tour. The band featured not only surviving members of Skynyrd, but several new faces stepping in to fill the in blanks left by members who had either passed on or decided not to return for the reunion. Since any front man would be unjustly scrutinized, there was no better choice than to look to the younger Van Zant brother who was asked to handle the vocals.

Twenty-Five years later Johnny has made this band his own. Having held the microphone much longer than Ronnie, he has not only stepped into some huge shoes but he has worn them until the soles fell off. This band is different, having only one original member, but it is still carrying the Southern Rock n' Roll torch for a third and fourth generation.

While the old songs are true classics in every sense of the word, the new Skynyrd band plays some really great music as well. True enough, it is hard to compete with twenty or so songs that have been played over and over since 1977, but Johnny and company are not in competition. They are a new version of Skynyrd with their own brand of music. And I mean some "awesome" music. God and Guns is probably their best album since they first reappeared in 1987.

They are not a tribute band. They are not a bar band. They are a group of professional musicians carrying a torch for some long lost family members and they are doing a fabulous job. Ronnie, Steve, Cassie, Allen, Leon, and Billy would be proud of this album and this band. I wish people would give Johnny and company the respect that they not ony deserve, but have earned through twenty five years of sold out shows all over the world.

Maybe they do only have one original member but those who have been playing with them for ten or twenty years have done a fantastic job. After all, how many members of the Atlanta Braves of 1977 are still on the team? Do we still call the team the Atlanta Braves? Great baseball is great baseball no matter what names are on the roster, and great music is great music no matter who is picking the strings.

Thanks Lynyrd Skynyrd for keeping Southern Rock alive!
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God & Guns by Lynyrd Skynyrd (Audio CD - 2009)
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