|Shaw/Blades Influence||Frontiers Records|
I recently reviewed the new Jorn covers album, rating it as one of the few all-covers affair that hits a home run. I generally despise covers albums, so imagine my surprise when I'm faced with another winner!|
There should never be any reason to doubt the talents and musical integrity of Jack Blades and Tommy Shaw. They know what works for them and this album is something that really works.
Both artists grew up on the music of the artists covered here and both artists are already very comfortable with each other and their respective roles.
This is the 5th record Jack and Tommy have recorded together (the 3rd Damn Yankees album remains unreleased) and sees them take up where the debut Shaw/Blades album left off.
That is – laid back, acoustic driven melodic rock, featuring glorious harmonies and strong, but subtly sung lead vocals.
This isn't a completely acoustic record though. The acoustic guitar may take center stage, but there is plenty of electric guitar on here too, not to mention several full band tracks.
I wouldn't rate the artists covered here as ones I would listen to generally. Mamas and the Papas, Buffalo Springfield, Steely Dan and Simon & Garfunkel are hardly the stuff covered by this site, but their songs are etched in history as absolute icons of pop culture. The guys also don't mind delving into the more obscure, with covers from The Zombies and Orleans.
So one must be careful when covering them and that is where the talents of Jack and Tommy come to the fore. They have this uncanny ability of knowing when exactly to play it straight and keep their song faithful to the original – such as the wonderful Sound Of Silence, Summer Breeze, Lucky Man and California Dreamin'.
They also know when to let loose a little bit, such as the psychedelic rocked up Time Of The Season (The Zombies) and the groovy On A Carousel (Hollies).
My favourites form the album include the already praised pristine Sound Of Silence; Jack's perfect lead vocal on Dirty Work (Steely Dan); the harmonious Dance With Me (Orleans); the true to form Summer Breeze (Seals & Crofts), which suits the guys harmonies brilliantly, as does the perky Your Move (Jon Andersen).
Not every track appeals as much as some others and I presume the tracks that appeal most will vary from individual to individual. The best thing about this record is that when one of the less favored tracks comes around, the album still flows beautifully and in no time another classic performance is underway.
Much bigger line up involved on this record with Brian Tichy (TMG) and Kelly Keagy (Night Ranger) on drums and Michael Lardie (Night Ranger, Great White) on keyboards.
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