Them Dirty Roses New Single ‘Candle In The Dark’

Them Dirty Roses is an Alabama-raised band, featuring two brothers, James and Frank Ford. Although sometimes described as Southern rock, the single “Candle In The Dark” sounds more like hard rock from the South, rather than decidedly Southern rock. Nevertheless this ballad-y rocker is certainly built upon a memorable electric guitar riff.

The song begins with pounding drums, before that Southern-y riff takes centerstage, mixed with organ. After the riff makes its entrance and exit, the song’s instrumentation drops off significantly to reveal little more than drums and vocals. What starts off really loud, though, gets really quiet quickly. The vocalist, James Ford, sounds somewhere between Axl Rose and Ian Astbury. He has some of that Astbury quivery-ness, which is matched with Rose’s distinctive snarl.

The aforementioned electric guitar riff has just a touch of regal flair going for it. It’s a bit like a six-string fanfare, in fact. An instrumental introductory statement, if you will. The character in this song comes off fragile and vulnerable, like a candle in the dark. It’s similar, lyrically, to Elton John’s “Candle in the Wind,” his song about Marilyn Monroe. In this case, though, the main character lights a candle in the dark, presumably to get out of a darkened and difficult to navigate situation. It’s amazing how much difference one single lit candle can make. In fact, the darker the area, the brighter such a candle shines. By the way, the introductory drum part sounds a little strange. It, for whatever reason, doesn’t come off particularly natural sounding. It’s echoey and odd, which only serves to better grab the listener’s attention. These drums are played by the other brother in this brotherly act, Frank Ford.

About midway through the track, a big electric guitar solo is added. This solo sounds like a Slash guitar part, matched to the Axl Rose-ish vocal section. The song is ballad-y because it’s a little on the slow side. It’s not a hard-charging song, but one that gets into a lumbering groove and sticks right to that.


Them Dirty Roses is a throwback to classic rock styles of yesteryear. It’s as though punk, and even grunge, never happened. Instead, “Candle In The Dark” keeps the flame – no pun intended – of Allman Brothers and Lynyrd Skynyrd alive. Passionate vocals and loud guitars and emotions out front; this is how Them Dirty Roses prefer to play it. This sort of classic rock never went completely out of style. Just like disco, and most other musical styles, there have always been acts playing it. It just took a back seat to whatever was the flavor of the month. If you love classic rock, but feel bad that it’s no longer cool and contemporary, Them Dirty Roses may satisfy your need for such vintage sounds. These musicians are from Alabama, after all, and hip trends likely arrive at that region late, if not last. Who knows, maybe there are still plenty of Southern rock-leaning acts still making the touring circuit, there. Even if Them Dirty Roses was the only one of its ilk, though, it’d still be worth seeking out. This is some mighty fine rock & roll.

-Dan MacIntosh