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Bill Leverty – Divided We Fall

Fans of melodic rock just closed their eyes and clenched their fists while exhaling a celebratory “Yessss!!”


That’s right, that Firehouse guitar player that’s written or co-written seven Billboard Hot 100 hits (including two in the Top 5) and sold more than 7 million albums worldwide. Yes, the guy in that band that beat out Nirvana and Alice In Chains to win the American Music Award for Best New Hard Rock/Heavy Metal Band in 1991. THAT Bill Leverty. Even if you push all the accolades he’s achieved with Firehouse off to the side, you’re left with a top shelf musician that knows how to write great songs.

For me, the things that define the Firehouse sound are the high tenor vocal pitch of singer C.J. Snare, the razor sharp guitar sound, and the insatiable melodic hooks. Going into this record I knew I would be missing a piece or two of that complete puzzle. I knew that Leverty would be assuming all the vocal duties here, and he has quite a different tone than Snare. I also knew these songs would simply have “Leverty” attached to the writing credit, instead of the “Leverty/Snare” moniker that I’d come to trust in for decades. And that cutting guitar sound, well, I knew that would be firmly in play. So was I worried? Nah.

Leverty is an extremely underrated guitar player, but even more so, he’s one of the most underrated songwriters in the rock world. He’s proven his worth many times over in the melodic rock realm of Firehouse, but his songwriting excellence shines just as bright with this diverse potpourri of musical fragrances. Divided We Fall is a record that pokes the bear. It doesn’t nestle itself in a comfy corner of predictability. You can tell that Leverty is going into different territory with both confidence and comfort. Whether it's blues rock, country, or power ballads, he has a staggering propensity for each of them.

One of the first things I noticed after I started spinning Divided We Fall is that each track has incredible bass lines and licks. Keith Horne is an essential ingredient to this tasty meal. The way his bass drives each of these songs is tremendous, but the subtle trills and bends he adds to so many already great phrasings are what makes these songs really something special. His insane licks never detract from the songs, but rather make them more interesting and multi-dimensional. Horne’s playing is the perfect compliment to Leverty’s perfectly placed guitar parts. Picture all that chemistry with Firehouse drummer Michael Foster holding it all down. It’s a beautiful thing. One of the main differences between this material and the Firehouse songs is that they do more exploring on a musicianship level. Firehouse songs are more streamlined and come across as one tightly focused effort with a well-defined target. These songs have more of a jam feel running underneath them, with a blueprint that leaves room for a playground on the build site. It’s in these musical playgrounds that we get treated to the volleys between Horne and Leverty.



Leverty does a great job of keeping the vocals simple and straight forward. He knows his limitations and makes the very best of his capabilities. I hear some Ian Astbury qualities on “You’re A Natural,” I get a bluesy Billy Gibbons feel from “Ace Bandage,” and I even hear a little tinge of Everlast on “The Bloom Is Off The Rose.” There are some great harmony vocal runs here as well. Songs like “Love Is Like A Song” and the title track have vocal arrangements that really shine. Leverty’s relaxed but clear and enunciated tone is exactly what these songs call for, and he delivers. And let me just say this – I appreciate the songs that dabble in the outlaw country creek and aren’t unnecessarily soaked with cliché vocal twang. “The Heart Heals The Soul” has more of a sly “Ghost Riders In The Sky” vibe, but “My Right Mind” and especially “For Better Or Forget It” could easily fall into the trappings of “faux Country” fodder, but they don’t. Those songs fit this album nicely and stick to the manicured blueprint that the rest of the album is built upon.

It’s funny, Leverty’s guitar skills are so “assumed” that I didn’t even talk much about them. If you know anything about this guy’s history, you should know that guitar excellence is a “given.” His expertise and his finely flavored guitar work are all over this record. Again, it’s really cool to hear the guitar working in a looser jam atmosphere. We get a lot of stylings from Leverty’s skillset that we may not touch upon in the Firehouse format.

With this record, I feel like I get the best of both worlds from Bill Leverty. This material coupled with the classic Firehouse catalog gives fans just about everything they could possibly want. Pull up a chair and let your ears feast on a thick, fat slice of pure American rock and roll.


To purchase this and any of Bill's other solo records, visit: Leverty.com

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FEATURE INTERVIEW


Photo by: Ralph Arvesen


Home Is Where The Heart Is: 
The Bill Leverty Interview

Bill Leverty is known for his hair metal guitar riffage and shredding with powerhouse melodic rockers Firehouse, but Leverty's solo release Divided We Fall proves that he is also a singer and one of the most underrated songwriters in the rock world.

In this interview, done while the world was hibernating at home because of the COVID-19 pandemic, Leverty discusses his entire career from the beginnings of Firehouse to the recent release of his fifth solo album, Divided We Fall. Listen as Bill Leverty answers all the compelling questions and discusses the moments that shaped his career of more than 30 years!!!


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