- The Washington Times - Thursday, March 10, 2016

Jim Donovan

“Sun King Warriors” (rel. March 12)

CD Baby

Former Rusted Root drummer Jim Donovan, who traded life on the road for a teaching job at Saint Francis University near Pittsburgh to be closer to his family, has dusted off the ax for his first solo album in 14 years, “Sun King Warriors.” Backed by such Steel City jammers as bassist Kent Tonkin, guitarist Dan Murphy and Bryan Fazio, Mr. Donovan undertakes singing and jamming duties for his inspiring trip around the “Sun.”

The disc is as upbeat as it is unforgettable, melding together roots rock, country and Mr. Donovan’s ever-present percussive joys. “Blend Into You” is a poppy bluegrass number, with “I’m Doing Fine” a throwback to some latter-day Beach Boys or Hall & Oates, and “Olalala” a definitive reggae cut. “March of the Sun King Warriors” brings to mind not only Mr. Donovan’s percussive work with Rusted Root but also the sheer ebullience he exhibits in his musical pursuits. “Love on Me” is a paean to that greatest of all human experiences, while “Can’t Stop Falling” even bears the stamp of certain Pink Floyd riffs. “The One You’re Growing Into” is a throwback to the magnificent work of Paul Simon’s “Graceland,” and was written for Mr. Donovan’s son. “The Sunshine” closes out this fine album in classy style.

Mr. Donovan proves on “Sun King Warriors” that he is a master of all manner of rock and world music genres. This is one of the most eclectic, and exciting, discs to come out in some time. Let us hope Mr. Donovan will take this show on the road soon.

Visit SunKingWarriors.com and follow Mr. Donovan on Twitter at @sunkingwarriors.

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