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Higher Octave HOMCD 10418
Produced by: Gary Cirimelli

Released: OUT / Website

  1. Caruso
  2. Hero
  3. (Everything I Do) I Do It For You
  4. Killing Me Softly
  5. From This Moment On
  6. Why
  7. I Can't Make You Love Me
  8. Con Te Partiro
  9. My Heart Will Go On
  10. A Song For You

There is no doubt that Neal Schon is one of rock's most inspired and talented guitarists. I am usually not a fan of instrumental albums, but his previous efforts have all held me captivated.
His Late Nite album remains my favourite instrumental album of all time. It's a classy collection of songs.
On Voice, Neal returns to the same vibe that Late Nite held. The style of that album had the guitar solos almost leading where a vocal would normally be. The album, although mostly instrumental, really 'sung' to you.
I am not sure if the connection is accurate, as that is only my take on that album, but the premise of this album was to have the guitar act as the 'voice' of these songs.
The songs are all covers - a range of songs made popular in different music fields over the past couple of decades. It's mainly contemporary, but there are some classics in there for good measure.
I feel that this album will appeal to most fans of Neal and his previous solo work.
However, the mix of songs may not be to everyone's tastes - especially Neal's hard rock fans.
Take the inclusion of the Annie Lennox track Why. Great solo's, great atmosphere, but damn, I just hate that song!!
Elsewhere it's much better - the classical piece Con Te Partiro is sensational, as is From This Moment and My Heart Will Go On.
I also appreciate Neal's sensitive version of the great A Song For You.
The album is openly commercial - appealing to the public at large, and covers all bases by encompassing a couple of popular classical tracks also. The Higher Octave crowd will love those!
But the album will not appeal to many site regulars, and some of the Journey crowd that just hang for those tough solo's.
This is a very laid back collection of songs. Musically it's a very safe middle of the road album. But that of course, is the whole intention of this exercise. So marking Neal on that aspect, it's mission accomplished.
Helping Neal out on this record is Gary Cirimelli on keys, drum prog & acoustic rhythm guitar. Scott Fuller plays keys on all tracks except #'s 3, 6 & 10.
Nothing against the content and quality of this album, but I rate Electric World and Beyond The Thunder in front of this album and Late Nite in front of them all. I don't think Neal would even disagree with that.
BOTTOM LINE: Another fine slice of inspirational music from guitar legend Neal Schon. Those who love his solo style will love this. It's a soft atmospheric record that hit's the mark that it was intended for. If that mark doesn't appeal to you, try another of Neal's great solo records.
ESSENTIAL FOR: All fans of Neal Schon the solo/instrumental guitarist, some Journey fans and general instrumental guitar fans.
DISCOGRAPHY:Late Nite . Beyond The Thunder . Electric World . Piranha Blues . Voice

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