Welcome to the musical meandering insights of Aaron Joy. Here you'll find 600 reviews of CDs & DVDs of rock & metal in all its variations, mainstream & indie. What they all share is that the album or band is unique in some way & not every submission was reviewed. Please share these reviews or link to them if you like what you read. Reviews are no longer being posted here but feel free to e-mail Aaron & post comments. (Formerly the Roman Midnight Music Blog) (last update 5/23/2017)

June 22, 2011

Henry Lee Summer ~ Henry Lee Summer (aka debut)

Style: Americana, country-rock, folk-rock
Label: Epic
Year: 1987
Home: Indiana

Members: Henry Lee Summer ~ vocals
Jimmy Rip ~ guitar
Graham Maby ~ bass
Ed Roynesdal ~ keyboards/violin
Anton Fig, Mike Organ ~ drums
Tony Aiello ~ sax
Mimi Mapes, Lisa Fisher, Sandra St. Victor, Norma Jean Wright ~ b. vocals

Some people may remember the videos of 80's heartland/Americana rocker HLS because of his now uncool mullet while others may recall his biggest hit "I Wish I Had A Girl" from his self-titled third album. HLS has often been compared to fellow Indiana rocker John Cougar Mellencamp as they both come from the same country-rock mold that was pushed to the national stage by Bruce Springsteen. The comparison is not without its merits but Mellencamp & HLS are quite different artists. One is a tough talkin' & heavy smokin' rootsy socially-minded rocker, while the other is the boy next door who just wants to fall in love, generally mind his own business & play his music & at the end of the day be able to say 'hey, I did something good'. Further, one has had a long career of many country-tinge hits charting a career of musical style changes, while the other is known for a handful of songs & a well-publicized drug addiction & slow recovery of his life, sanity & career. HLS's music may stay firmly in the Mellencamp shadow without straying too far but he has one secret weapon that even Mellencamp can be jealous of - his albums are incredibly memorable as you soon find yourself singing long after the album has stopped playing. Since first putting the CD on a couple days I've found myself repeatedly singing the chorus of "I Wish I Had A Girl", along with putting on a few of HLS's later albums. Addictive is an understatement, which given HLS's history might be the wrong word choice but whether it's drugs or music the high & the desire to listen again is generally the same. HLS is not fancy or intricate, he's no Dylan & the music isn't full of too many surprises. It's just straight ahead heartland rock that's fun & unpretentious with a few twists of commercial friendly guitars & keyboards dotted here & there. Following the opening hit is ten other songs in the same mold of girls next door, listening to the radio, loving & hurting ... if you like the way the album starts you enjoy the rest of the ride. "Hands On The Radio" & "Still Bein' Seventeen" are other standout sing-alongs, while "Darlin' Danielle Don't" & "I'll Hurt For You" are slow ballad highlights, with the former sounding like something out of the rockabilly 50's at times. In an interesting side line, HLS is also known as an painter, but unlike fellow musician/artists who work on traditional canvas he's famous for his intricate & colorful painting on guitars.


  1. Couldn't agree more!

    1. haha! Great! Nice to hear I got something right!