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Albums Of The Week: The Immediate Family | Skin In The Game

The supergroup of session player-sidemen reconvene for their sophomore release.

THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE:The Immediate Family’s second studio album Skin In The Game is a skillful combination of power and precision, fun and introspection, featuring soaring harmonies and a burst of R&B with pure rock ’n’ roll. Produced by the band, Skin In The Game’s 14 tracks showcase the remarkably versatile skills possessed by all five members: Singer-songwriter guitarists Danny Kortchmar, Waddy Wachtel and Steve Postell, and one of the most renowned rhythm sections in rock history, Russ Kunkel and Leland Sklar.

Launching with the raucous opening track Whole Lotta Rock and Roll, the album’s 13 original songs exuberantly careen from funky rockers such as 24/7/365, Confusion and Lost In The Shuffle to gentler numbers such as Fragile Heart and Catch You On The Other Side. On Looking Away, they effortlessly build the emotional drama by shifting from restrained acoustic guitars to a blast of electric guitar fury. Similarly, the band’s satiric edge can slide from the dark side on Party At The Graveyard to the lighter-hearted fun of High Maintenance. Sklar and Kunkel’s subtly profound ways of building and holding down a song’s foundation are present throughout Skin In The Game.

The title track begins with Kunkel’s drumbeat, complemented by Sklar’s sonorous bass. Together they bring a gravitas that supports the song’s message that life isn’t just about the money; you need to have heart, soul, pride, and be willing to risk everything. The album’s only cover tune is an arresting reimagining of Sparks’ The Toughest Girl in Town. This rendition transforms the Mael brothers’ original from an eccentric synth-pop gem to a guitar-driven rocker.

The tight-knit quintet initially rose to prominence working with some of rock’s biggest names, such as Keith Richards, Linda Ronstadt, James Taylor, Carole King, Jackson Browne, Stevie Nicks, Don Henley, Billy Joel, David Crosby and Joni Mitchell, to name a few. “This band has such power. It’s almost like an embarrassment of riches,” states Wachtel. “We just knew we had all moved up to the next level in the group. It was such a great feeling, one that is the real reason all of us do what we do.” Sklar adds, “The Immediate Family’s unrivaled musical chemistry comes from years of playing together. We all know each other backward and forward and can play to each other’s strengths in ways that other groups can’t always get to.”