Jr. Gone Wild’s still got the chops

Four decades after first appearing on the Canadian music scene, Alberta alt-country pioneers Jr. Gone Wild are back with a fantastic new album that delivers the goods from beginning to end.

Still Got The Jacket is a sonic tour de force that runs the gamut of human emotion and deftly incorporates a wide range of musical genres.

Rock, rockabilly, punk, folk, outlaw country, and other vibes flow seamlessly throughout the album’s 16 tracks.

Formed in the early 1980s, the band underwent scores of lineup changes before breaking up in 1995. But three of the four original members — Mike McDonald (guitars/vocals), Steve Loree (lead guitar), and Dave “Dove” Brown (bass) — reunited for the album and have been playing gigs in support of it.

Sadly, drummer Larry Shelast died during pre-production in 2019. He’s been replaced on the kit by McDonald’s nephew, the very capable Quinton Herbert.

The single ‘Girl In The Crowd’ is an upbeat and infectious earworm, and the band’s cover of Chilliwack’s ‘Fly at Night’ is a pitch-perfect rendition of a Canadian classic.

But dig deeper and there are some hidden treasures.

‘Behind The Wheel’ is a penetrating meditation on the loneliness and heartache of life on the road.

Meanwhile, the hypnotic ‘Five Million Songs’ is a toe-tapping, soul-searching, guy-against-the-world gem that showcases the band’s top-notch songwriting.

Whatever your taste in music, Still Got The Jacket is definitely worth a listen.