Released by: AOR/Metal Heaven
Release Date: September 23rd, 2011
Genre: Melodic Rock/AOR
Steve Newman : Vocals, Guitar, and Keyboards
Rob McEwen : Drums & Percussion
Shaun Bessant : Lead Guitar on “If He Loves You”
If He Loves You
Under Southern Skies
Strength To Carry On
Ghost In The Night
Fire With Fire
Save No Prisoners
Wish You Were Here
Mr Steve Newman returns quickly to the Melodic Rock/AOR circle by following up what was one of his strongest albums to date “The Art of Balance” released just last year. This time around we have the album title “Under Southern Skies, which marks the 8th studio album from Newman since he got started back in 1997. Steve has been on a consistent tear of the scene over the last few years releasing some very solid melodic laden albums and this new one is no different. If you’re fan of AOR then you have probably known about Newman for a long time now, especially now he has been consider one of the most respected UK artists in the genre. With strong showings at Firefest and Cambridge Rock Festival over his career, which later followed a collaboration with Mark Thompson Smith on the acclaimed Big Life album, he has only added to his reputation.
Leave it for Steve to thrown down all arms and keep on trucking forward with another solid release. The album once again features Steve Newman on Vocals, Guitar, Keyboards, and Rob McEwen taking on Drum responsibilities. There is also an appearance by Shaun Bessant playing Lead Guitar on the track “If He Loves You”.
So what can we expect here, well some you’ve heard before and some you may just like even after considering the fact that most of the songs have a high energy of melodious melancholy energy, with your normal AOR touches of brilliance. Something that Steve has mastered through the years.
As we get into the album we pick up on those same keyboard laden groovy AOR sounds we heard on the last album from Steve and company. The more straight forward “If He Loves You” has patented the build up hook as it eases its way into a melodic solo halfway through the track. The title track seems to plays more like a maturity in songwriting for Steve and Co, as the song progresses nicely with a more modern hard rock feel. The more typical stylistically sound of Steve comes out on the easy Sunday morning sounds of “Fire With Fire”, a simple laid back atmosphere tranquilizes the overall sound of this neat little track.
If you’re a friend of this traditional style then you will find enough to get you by, if you’re a fan of AOR/Melodic Rock there is so nice tunes here that will satisfy anybody who hungers for more music in the genre. Steve Newman is a cagy veteran, like people such as Stan Bush, Jim Jamison etc, all these guys can play this style of music in they’re dreams and Newman has had a nice career in the genre for a while now making consistent music. Although this time around the songs are more flat in structures, probably not enough high soaring chorus as in Art of Balance, not tone down the effort because Steve sounds great as always, just not up to the caliber of the last record. Still solid in my book and one that will satisfy the hunger of longtime fans.
Written by Denys
Ratings Denys 7/10
Preview Tracklist Samples Below:
1. Killing Me SAMPLE
2. If He Loves You SAMPLE
3. Under Southern Skies SAMPLE