Review: Derek Sanders Releases Heartfelt Solo EP, ‘My Rock and Roll Heart’

Photo Credit: Lupe Bustos

Derek Sanders has always been the kind of performer whose emotion could always be felt through his vocals. As he releases his first solo endeavor, that hasn’t changed at all. His carefully curated selection of the five songs that make up My Rock and Roll Heart are a tasteful and enjoyable take on the classics. The songs were selected because they influenced Sanders throughout his life and now he’s paying homage to these artists and those pivotal moments in his life.

The EP approaches each song acoustically which adds a sense of vulnerability to each song while also taking it back to basics. Sanders embraces nostalgia throughout the EP and hearing him dive into the work of others helps you fall back in love with his voice. The songs don’t lose their rock essence with just a guitar. “A Praise Chorus”, which was originally performed by Jimmy Eat World, stills carries that pop punk flare with fast paced strumming and backup vocals from Daniel Lancaster.

Sanders didn’t just use the record to fuel his own nostalgia. He was also hoping to bring some recognition to his favorite local band, Goodbye Love. His cover of “But Lauren” came to life long before the EP existed, but it fits in so perfectly on My Rock and Roll Heart.

“August In Bethany”, originally performed by The Juliana Theory, is the stand out track on the record. It’s piano driven nature elevates it to a new level that sounds so angelic and delicate. It’s the perfect closer for a record like this.

The key to a good cover is making it your own and performing it well. Derek Sanders took these songs and transformed each of them. His signature vocals have been a staple in the alternative music scene for years and this EP and guaranteed to introduce younger fans to older bands that they may not have listened to otherwise. Sanders did an outstanding job with this release. It’s a true testament to his artistry.

Listen to My Rock and Roll Heart here.

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