RATINGS: A = must own B = buy it C= average D = yawn F = puke

Heaven & Earth – Dig
Quatro Valley Records

Rating: B+

Stuart Smith is the founding member and leader of the band Heaven & Earth.  One could ask, “Where on heaven and earth, then, are all the albums?  These guys have been around since the 1990’s for god sakes!”  Yep, its true, H&E’s output has been limited to 1998’s Heaven and Earth, 2001’s Windows to the World, 2006’s EP A Taste of Heaven and a DVD Making of Heaven & Earth, released in 2007.  Now, they have come back for more in 2013, this time with the album Dig

Stuart Smithloves classic rock, were talking Deep Purple, Whitesnake and Led Zeppelin.  And, on this album, he makes no effort not to wear his influences on his sleeve.  That is not to say he is copying the music of his heroes.  Not true, he is just allowing their impact to help develop his sound.  

While nothing on the album really breaks the classic hard rock Blackmore meets Page mold, the album has a great feel and sound to it.  Smith, most known for his lead guitar prowess, and rightly so, also impresses on rhythm guitar on Dig.  “Victorious,” “Sexual Insanity” and “Back in Anger” all have great rhythms that accent and add to the overall feel of the songs on the album. 

Smith invited a few of his famous friends to appear on Dig including 2013 Hall of Fame inductee Howard Leese, guitar god Richie Sambora and David Paich of Toto fame.  The band’s new vocalist, Joe Retta, met Smith when they were both in Steve Priest’s Sweet in 2009.  After it became clear that the band was not going to progress, the musical dynamic duo began working on Dig.  

This is a damn fine roots hard rock style album.  Smith, however, is a dynamo on the electric guitar and is at his best when both he, and Heaven & Earth, are pushing it at full throttle. 

Release Date: 04/23/13

Buy Dig Here

By Jeb Wright