2018 is here and making sure that you have all the necessary tools in your arsenal to Rock straight out of the gates. This press release educates us in the formation of the brand new extension of the EMP Label Group family. Take a look below.
The Press Release:
EMP LABEL GROUP has announced the formation of EMP OUTLAW, a Southern Rock/Outlaw Country Imprint, set to reissue “METAL COWBOY”, the 2014 independent release from legendary Steeler/Keel vocalist Ron Keel, in stores 3/2/18. 2018 will also see the studio debut from Ron Keel Band, the highly anticipated follow up to “METAL COWBOY”, entitled “FIGHT LIKE A BAND”.
After a storied career that began as lead vocalist for Steeler, which would also go on to include guitar virtuoso Yngwie Malmsteen , and selling millions of records under his eponymous KEEL with classic albums “THE RIGHT TO ROCK” and “THE FINAL FRONTIER” (both Produced by KISS’ Gene Simmons), Keel veered off into brave new territory with the decidedly Southern Rock/Outlaw Country feel of “METAL COWBOY”
“METAL COWBOY RELOADED” features remixed and remastered versions of the tracks from the original independent release, featuring a star studded lineup of guest musicians including Frank Hannon (Tesla), Mike Vanderhule (Y&T), Paul Shortino (Rough Cutt/Quiet Riot), Travis Toy (Rascal Flatts) and more, including fan favorite tracks “Just Like Tennessee” and “What Would Skynyrd Do?” , plus the bonus track “Rock N Roll Hell” featuring Troy Lucketta (Tesla) on drums and Jeff Labar/Eric Brittingham from Cinderella on guitar and bass.
Originally released in 2014, “METAL COWBOY” was a bold new direction for Keel, pulling strongly from the playbook of Country and Southern Rock, while maintaining the powerful Rock edge and unmistakable powerhouse vocals Keel is known for. While Keel had some success in Country and Southern Rock after the dissolution of KEEL (who reunited in 2008), “METAL COWBOY” definitively established Keel’s musical identity, although its genesis had far deeper roots.
“We (KEEL) recorded a version of ‘Rock ‘N’ Roll Outlaw’ for Penelope Spheeris for the DUDES Movie Soundtrack that also features Megadeth, W.A.S.P., Steve Vai, and Jane’s Addiction. It ended up being a great cult film and I’d love it even if I wasn’t in it. That really was the genesis of the Metal Cowboy – ‘Outlaw’ became my signature song, and ended up featured in the movie twice!”
After releasing “METAL COWBOY” and relocating to Sioux Falls, South Dakota, Keel would go on to form RON KEEL BAND, with a new powerhouse band featuring the best players the Midwest has to offer. While sticking to the earthy Southern charms of “METAL COWBOY, RKB showcases a new, rich musical fabric for Keel and his bandmates.
“I knew EMP was the perfect home for this project,” Ron says. “Knowing David (Ellefson) personally, their diverse artist roster, and the quality of their products and business model told me all I needed to know.”
Regarding the direction of the new project, Keel sees this RKB release as the first in a series. “I want each album to contain new original music, covers of some classics that I love, and brand-new versions of songs from throughout my career.” Already in the can: a medley of the KEEL hits “The Right To Rock,” “Because The Night,” “Tears Of Fire,” and “Somebody’s Waiting.”
Says EMP LABEL GROUP’s Thom Hazaert, “When someone like Ron Keel comes to you and says he wants to be on your label, it pretty much just happens, and that’s pretty much verbatim how it happened. One day me and David got an email from Ron saying he was a fan of EMP and he wanted to be on the label. So we created a label just FOR him. Bottom line, Ron is one of the most talented Rock vocalists of our generation, and a true gentleman outlaw, and we are honored to have him as part of the EMP family.”
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PiercingMetal Thoughts: I thought that this was some great news to start off our musical year because I have a soft spot for some Southern Rock and Outlaw Country in my music library and had been a fan of Ron Keel’s for many years. As a matter of fact, one of the very first reviews I did here on PiercingMetal was for Ron’s Southern Rock band Iron Horse. That trip in the way back machine can be examined on THIS LINK. I look forward to getting my hands on a copy of “Metal Outlaw Reloaded” because I missed the original release somehow. I guess it happens. This news follows the November 2017 announcement about the return of Combat Records which was lined out on THIS LINK. Best of luck on this new angle for the label. It should be an interesting one for sure. What do you readers think about it? Chime in down below.