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Neal Schon - The Calling | FESTIVALPHOTO

Neal Schon - The Calling



Neal Schon is best known as the guitarist and a founding member of Journey. Over the past four decades he's released fourteen albums with Journey as well as five solo albums and has earned numerous gold and platinum albums. He's also performed with Joe Cocker, Sammy Hagar, Paul Rodgers, Larry Graham, Betty Davis, Michael Bolton, fusion legend Jan Hammer and supergroup Bad English,as well as a variety of side projects. In short then he's got a pretty damn impressive CV.

Having said that, this album is an instrumental, and I'm always slightly dubious about instrumental albums. They're almost always recorded by a guitarists - possibly as a way to make sure they take centre stage rather than the singers. They're always packed with some excellent guitar work, but often they're only really of interest to other guitarists, and for anyone else are nice to listen to once but arent that exciting that you'd play them again. Think about it - most people can probably name a large number of songs, but ask them to name instrumental tracks and you'd probably find most people cant name more than 2 or 3 at most - and a large percentage would struggle to name more than one (that one being Fleetwood Mac's "Albatross")

So the challenge here is whether or not the album is sufficiently interesting that you'd choose to listen to it more than once or twice. For me the answer is no. Yes it's packed with some great music and excellent guitar playing, but without the vocals it just doesn't have enough to make the tracks stick in your mind for long after you listen to the album.

If you're a guitarist then you'll probably love this album and enjoy listening to the guitar techniques used. For most people though its an album you can happily have playing in the background but its an album you're unlikely to pick out to play.

"The Calling" will be released on 19th October 2012 via Frontiers records


Neal Schon: Guitars
Steve Smith: Drums
Igor Len: Keyboards

Special guest
Jan Hammer: Moog solos


1. The Calling
2. Carnival Jazz
3. Six String Waltz
4. Irish Field
5. Back Smash
6. Fifty Six (56)
7. True Emotion
8. Tumbleweeds
9. Primal Surge
10. Blue Rainbow Sky
11. Transonic Funk
12. Song Of The Wind II

Taking a detour from his main job, the multi-talented Schon just released his latest solo album, The Calling. Produced by and featuring Schon on all guitars and bass, the 2012 album also marks a reunion with former Journey member and current in-demand drummer Steve Smith, who lends his virtuoso talents to all 12 tracks on “The Calling”. Schon set up shop at Berkeley’s famed Fantasy Studios during a break from Journey’s busy touring schedule, and started recording completely from scratch to finish the entire album’s worth of tracks in just four days. After overdubbing multiple guitar and bass parts, Schon recruited two keyboard masters to flesh out the music. Igor Len, an accomplished classical, jazz and film composer who had previously collaborated with Schon, is featured on acoustic piano throughout “The Calling”; while GRAMMY Award-winning special guest Jan Hammer (Jeff Beck, Mahavishnu Orchestra, Miami Vice soundtrack) recorded Moog synthesizer solos on two tracks. Recently, Schon teamed up with Dan Barnett (Journey: Live In Manila) to produce the video for the first single and title track from “The Calling”.

Writer: Anthony May
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