Don’t Understand – Billy Roberts and The Rough Riders (reviewed by Dave Franklin)

We know that Billy Roberts is great at kick arse, country rock and roll. That when you hear his music, you imagine a swaggering and groovesome band in full flight, foot firmly wedged on the monitor (I presume) firing of killer musical salvos. It’s great then that Don’t Understand shows another side to Billy and his sonic posse. It’s not quite what you call a ballad, it has more balls than that, but it certainly wanders some more subtle and supple musical pathways.

It is made up of country licks, bluesy vibes and gentle acoustic tones. And as it travels it picks up more weight, raw-edged rhythm guitars, emotive and drifting blues sonics, the beats come harder and the bass pulses more purposefully they all head towards its logical conclusion.

Lyrically, it is an outsider’s song, Billy musing about how he was once part of the pack, felt that he was the norm in the world but of late feels like a minority, at odds with the world and not understanding where and when the change happened. (You and me both brother!)

Don’t Understand is a song which proves that just because you have an important point to make, you don’t have to go to musical extremes to make it. In fact, the accessible and more restrained nature of the song probably means that its message of not fitting in with the mainstream will appeal to more people than his more usual, trade-mark, countrified rock and roll. And that, my friends, is what you call irony!

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