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Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Steve Lukather – ‘Transition’ album review

Steve Lukather – ‘Transition’ album review
Released on: Mascot Records. Release date: Jan. 22nd 2013
Steve ‘Luke’ Lukather is truly the musician’s musician as I have certainly encountered when talking to people at either his solo performance or with multi-platinum AOR band Toto or just talking to friends who likewise appreciate the guy’s talents.

My admiration goes right back to when at age sixteen, I first heard the classic ‘Hold The Line,’ from the very first Toto album in 1978.
The guitar solo on that track alone was killer, but of course that was such a small part of what Steve Lukather has been all about, I mean he and the guys in Toto were all known session musicians, by the time they released that first combined gem as Toto.
 Since 1977 ‘Luke’ as he’s best known to so many, has been an in demand player, composer, singer, you name it, he’s got it!
He has performed on well over 1,000, in fact I believe it's closer to 1,500 and still counting and has co-written hit songs for so many artists too, but then if you’ve read ‘Chambers of Rock’ on a regular basis, you’ll have been well aware of my admiration for Luke.
I’m so fortunate to have seen the guy play both back in the UK and here a few times now in the States and have also been especially proud of having interviewed the guy too.
The man’s ability to play hard rockin’ riffs, to more soulful and jazzy pieces just seems endless.
Oh and if you can’t believe those stats, just go here for his credits:
So here we are in 2013 and Luke has a new album out this week.!
‘Transition’ is Luke’s seventh solo studio release and frankly it’s amazing that time allows for solo ventures for the guy, but Toto has run a little on and off over the years, which has usually worked out to allow Luke to do just that!
In fact, in speaking with Luke not long before Christmas he said that this album wraps up a trilogy of releases since 2008’s brilliant ‘Ever Changing Times’ through 2010’s ‘All’s Well That Ends Well’ and I agree that they are very much in sync with one another, so fans of the last two, should likewise enjoy this one.
Another really great thing about this album is once again, Luke has called upon his live band players to be a part of the release as well as other great guests and I have say, live they gel so well as if they’re a unit that’s been around for donkey’s years!
 Opening with the epic ‘Judgement Day’ clocking in at over seven minutes long, it couldn’t be better!
He manages to touch on many of the styles that he likes to play, from smooth AOR, through rocking riffs and heavy driving drums and bass to easing back a little with soulful, almost jazz like touches right back into the rockin’ groove!
Oh and the solo …, killer, of course!
Toto fans should love this opener, no question.
‘Creep Motel’ next, appropriately written about the many weirdo’s that you bump into in travels through various stop overs here and there.
It’s got a wonderfully laid back, sub-bluesy meets Steely Dan kind of groove to it.
This one runs just under six minutes long and while there is only nine tracks here on the whole album, it’s really only the closing instrumental track that’s less than four minutes long here, so even for nine tracks, it’s not bad.
Luke also said to me, ‘Who has time to listen to like fifteen tracks or more anyway and your attention span / interest may not stretch to that either.’
Valid points to some folks, although I’d certainly enjoy more music from this guy, its class stuff indeed in my books!
Next track ‘Once Again,’ is a beautiful heartfelt ballad that would easily fit well on a Toto album to be honest. I love it, although it clearly reflects emotional pain for Luke.
The haunting intro on ‘Right the Wrong’ leads into a funky laid back groove, but then there’s a massive power ballad style chorus and then the bridge leads into a wonderful guitar solo. It’s a class six plus minute track, co-written with his son Trevor.
Haunting words throughout too about all we’ve done so wrong with our world, moving stuff.
‘Transition’ does exactly what it’s title suggests, jumps from one groove to another direction, starting soulfully and then gets into a real sweet jam, then comes right back down again and then … Wham! Killer stuff with so many layers from Steve Weingart and Luke, it’s just phenomenal and just when you think its instrumental track, Luke throws in some vocals around the four minute mark.
Really nice track indeed, great stuff!
With ‘Last Man Standing’ it sounds like Toto turf once again, a wonderful slow to mid paced number.
There’s just so many rich textures to this track and the whole album to be honest, but then that’s exactly what Luke is all about. He’s such a master of his art, he really is.
I’ll tell you something else too, can it get any better ...?
You want hit single ...?
Seriously, ‘Do I Stand Alone’ could give the likes of Bon Jovi, U2 and Springsteen a real run for their money if it picked up radio play. It has hit record written all over it! Massive!
It’s so catchy, great hooks, great harmony vocals, it’s just huge! I love it!
‘Rest of the World’ allows Luke a little bluesy soul trip. Really nicely done and some seriously sweet licks!
Closing track is the instrumental cover of the song ‘Smile,’ originally written by Charlie Chaplin no less.
It’s beautifully conveyed by Luke’s slick guitar work, a really nice closing number.
I really like this album, it may be a grower for some people, but sometimes those are the best!
It’s certainly right up there with ‘Ever Changing Times’ for me and maybe has the edge over ‘All’s Well That Ends Well.’
Between C.J. Vanston and Luke, they’ve produced a real beauty!
Buy it!
Rating: 4.5 out of 5
Official weblinks: