Vandenberg’s MoonKings and Mascot Records / Mascot Label Group will release Rugged and Unplugged globally on November 23. The album is a beautifully stripped back acoustic album which features songs from across Adrian Vandenberg’s career. From his first band Teaser as a 20-year-old he has always used an acoustic guitar in his recordings, which along with the electric guitar creates the light and shade dynamic that is the cornerstone to all of his records.
“For me, the sign of whether a song is good or not, is whether it still stands up when it’s completely stripped down to the bare essence of it,” says Vandenberg. He continues, “What I find with acoustic versions of songs you already know, is that they can touch you differently than the full band and even orchestral versions. You don’t get ‘impressed’ by big guitars, drums, and even orchestras. As a performer, you can’t hide behind all that, so what’s left is the emotional content of the performance and the actual song.”
This project created the opportunity to strip down the big orchestral arrangements on songs such as ‘What Doesn’t Kill You’ and ‘Breathing’ to just Vandenberg on acoustic guitar and the voice of Jan Hoving. His 1983 hit ‘Burning Heart’ gets a stunning reworking, “my favorite singers ever since my teens have always been guys like Paul Rodgers and David Coverdale. Since I wrote this song in 1981, I’ve always pictured it sung by a singer with such a tone of voice and vocal abilities. Jan is such a singer as you can hear,” he explains. ‘One Step Behind’ has a graceful warmth and ‘Walk Away’ feels both intimate and anthemic.
Originally from Whitesnake’s 1989 album ‘Slip of the Tongue,’ ‘Sailing Ships’ has a delicate beauty to it that makes the hairs on your arm stand up and has become a favorite and regular in the MoonKing’s live shows. ‘Out Of Reach’ is the only song that features drums, bass, and violins and has a warm cascading elegance. The album closes with a new song, the instrumental ‘Sundown.’ Talking about it he says, “It was one of those beautiful early evenings in the late summer, the light turning pink, it was quiet, and I was doodling away on my acoustic guitar. The melody that pretty much rolled off of my fingers matched the vibe of that moment, so I decided to record it and end the album with it. It felt like a very natural thing to do.”
Like the two MoonKings albums, ‘MoonKings’ (2014) and ‘MK II’ (2017) it was produced by Adrian Vandenberg himself. It was recorded between Vandenberg’s home studio and Jan Hoving’s farm which gives it the relaxed, intimate and natural feel, away from the clinical studio environment. It is Vandenberg and Hoving doing what they do and loves the most, playing music straight from the heart.
The complete track listing features “What Doesn’t Kill You,” “Sailing Ships,” “Out Of Reach,” “One Step Behind,” “Burning Heart,” “Walk Away,” “Breathing,” and “Sundown.” The album will be available in LP + MP3, CD, and digital formats. A pre-order is now live here: http://smarturl.it/VDBMK-DSP