Though I was an avid teenage music fan growing up in Atlanta, just 250 miles or so from their Nashville home, I confess to knowing nothing about Tennessee-based rockers Raging Fire when they were doing their thing in the mid- to late-1980s. The Melora Zaner-fronted quartet never managed to break into the mainstream before calling it quits a quarter century ago.
“From the start, we knew we were on to something new,” Zaner says. “We wanted to combine storytelling with the punk music we loved. We wanted to bring in blues and pop melodies. I don’t have a big, huge voice, but I thought I could be a stylist. I thought of Patti Smith, one of my heroes, and Siouxsie & The Banshees, and X and Blondie, but also Billie Holiday and Little Esther. I thought there was something valid there.”
After a couple spins of the 79-minute slab, it’s clear that Raging Fire were a band ahead of its time. Had they come along 5-10 years later, I have no doubt they would have found a wider audience. But timing, as they say, is everything. Highlights of “Everything Is Roses” include “Four Tears (Church Street),” “You and Me,” “The One You Hate,” the title track, “A Desire Scorned,” “Big Tent,” “Under the Awning” and “Hands of God.”
This 22-track platter offers those of us unfamiliar with their work a glimpse at what this band was all about. You also can’t help but wonder what might have been. (Jeffrey Sisk)