Great music often stems from the most unlikely of partnerships, and this is certainly true of Roadcase Royale. On their debut album, First Things First, the band, led by legendary Heart guitarist Nancy Wilson and powerhouse R&B vocalist Liv Warfield, a former member of Prince's New Power Generation, conjure an explosive and affecting rock-and-soul sound that nods to each musician's particular musical past while also looking ahead to explore bold sonic frontiers.
From the laid back groove and liquid guitar chording of opener "Get Loud" to the pile-driving heavy blues riffing of "Not Giving Up," the sultry – and slightly Stones-y – love letter "Cover Each Other" to the hushed, hymn-like inspirational closer "Never Say Die," First Things First draws from a deep and diverse well of styles and sentiments to create something fresh and unique. The songs the band came up with for First Things First run a gamut of sounds and emotions, with several of them tackling hot-button social issues like female empowerment ("Get Loud"), political divisiveness ("Not Giving Up"), and self-determination in the face of aggression ("Insaniac").
First Things First also features re-workings of two classic Heart songs – the smash 1985 ballad "These Dreams," and the hard-rocking "Even It Up," which is given a slinky, funkier reading here. "It's sort of like a transfer of power," Wilson says about bringing her past into her present. And indeed, there's no denying the power and eternalness of these songs.