Lee Small is known for his work with hard rock acts such as Shy, Pride, and Native Cain and thus one might expect the first debut release by this hard rock vocalist to be a work of solid hard rock. And, while "Jamaica Inn" is categorized as hard rock by labels and PR agents, I would argue that calling it a hard rock release is far-fetched. There are very few hard rock elements on this release (there are a couple of songs which don venture into hard rock territory, but surely not enough to warrant a hard rock classification of the album.
Rather than face-ripping hard rock, the listener is treated to tasty melodic rock with heavy influences from blues rock and soul rock. And, I hasten to add, "Jamaica Inn" is not just a melodic blues/soul rock, it is very good release containing some well-crafted and well performed rock tunes wlots of melody, and Lee Smalls soulful vocals add a dimension of both appeal and melancholy to the overall sound. The album is pretty varied overall ranging from soulful ballads over blues rock tunes to tracks like the aptly titled 'The Renegade Accordion Player'. Guitar fans can, despite the absense of all out hard rock, nonetheless look forward to some blazing guitar solos.
The production is crisp and welldefined, serving both the bluesey and melodic as well as the more rock-oriented aspects of the album pretty well, and definitely contributes to the listening pleasure.
Lee Small's "Jamaica Inn" is a fine example of melodic rock and, with its bluesey and soulful nature it constitues a welcome alternative to most mainstream pop music. Well done indeed.