Night Ranger – “24 Strings and a Drummer”

In 1982, Night Ranger released their debut album “Dawn Patrol”, containing such classic tracks as “Don’t Tell Me You Love Me”, “Sing Me Away” and “Call My Name”. This record was the beginning of the band’s incredible success story.To date, Night Ranger has sold more than  16 Million records  worldwide, has earned and multiple gold and platinum certifications and two Top Ten singles, including the ubiquitous “Sister Christian.”  Their contributions are featured in multiple entertainment realms, including the hit Broadway musical and film “Rock of Ages” and the successful videogame series “Rock Band” and “Guitar Hero”. The band has also been recognized in such significant films and television shows as Boogie Nights and “American Dad”.

As a celebration of the 30th anniversary of their debut album, Night Ranger planned a very special release: an album/DVD recorded live in an intimate all-acoustic setting, with a select number of fans at The Studio D Recording in Sausalito, CA in May 2012.  The result is compelling and exciting live renditions of the band’s classic hits with new, refreshing arrangements; tracks include “(You Can Still) Rock In America”, “Sister Christian”, “This Boy Needs To Rock” or “Four In The Morning.”  Available in CD/DVD package “24 Strings and a Drummer” is a superb release; a testament to Night Ranger’s stellar live show and the strength of their songwriting abilities.

Fans of the early 90s Unplugged shows may remember a series of shows where rock/metal bands reworked their classic hits and gave them a slightly different edge by producing acoustic versions. Night Ranger were no stranger to this genre (“Sister Christian” and the fabulous “Don’t Tell Me You Love Me” making their way on to the compilation CDs) and yet mainstream success in the UK managed to avoid them. Yet, as mentioned above, I can pretty much guarantee that, even if you don’t recognise the name, you will know a load of these songs (including “Secret of My Success” which was the main theme from the Michael J Fox film of the same name).

Again you can hear the years of work through this recording of an intimate show (you feel that you’re part of a fantastic little party) –  “new boy” Joel Hoekstra knows his chops too combining playing in Night Ranger with the Trans Siberian Orchestra and in the Broadway band for “Rock of Ages” (will I ever stop mentioning that show?), just showing that even the newer members have the background befitting the legacy. The arrangements beautifully blend traditional rock stylings, with unplugged type changes and then throw in a soupcon of flamenco/Spanish style guitar, but never does this sound like a bunch of people showing off. This is just the sort of cool night in that us rock fans of a certain age (ahem, 28?) would love to be a part of.

Should you get this one? Hell yeah! Do it people – Night Ranger produce the right kind of rock!

“24 Strings and a Drummer” is available on Frontiers Records now.

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