Released by: Fantasy Records
Release Date: Out Now!!!
Steve Perry: Vocals, Guitars, & Bass
Josh Freese and Vinnie Colaiuta: Drums
Devin Hoffman, Nathan East, Travis Carlton, and Pino Palladino: Bass
Thom Flowers, David Spreng, Brian West, Dan Wilson, and John Five: Guitars
Tommy King, Randy Goodrum, Dallas Kruse, and Jeff Babko: Piano
Booker T. Jones, Tommy King, and Dallas Kruse: Hammond Organ
1. No Erasin’
2. We’re Still Here
3. Most of All
4. No More Cryin’
5. In the Rain
6. Sun Shines Grey
7. You Belong To Me
8. Easy To Love
9. I Need You
10. We Fly
Unless you’ve been living under a rock, in a cave, or on a deserted island you’ve probably heard Steve Perry was making his triumphant return to the music world (hell even under a rock, in a cave, or on an island you probably heard about it.) Releasing his third solo album (the first since 1994’s For the Love of Strange Medicine,) there has been much ballyhoo about what one was to expect. After some video surfaced of him singing with a friend of his band after being out of the spotlight for a few decades, you could tell that he was out of practice. One contingent of the fanbase was super excited about the upcoming release while another (mostly consisting of trolls and naysayers) were not expecting much. As a longtime fan of not only Steve’s solo material but his time with Jourmey, I rode the fence pretty hardcore, though I was pretty happy to see him getting back out there. Even more so when I heard the first single “No Erasin’.”
Now that I have the full album in hand (and having heard several songs a few times via Spotify,) the verdict is in: the album is a great listen. Some say he is a mere shadow of his previous glory, and to some extent, that may be true. Traces show a more mature vocal approach for Perry. Yes, the bulk of the songs are more ballads than any rockers, but that was always his wheelhouse. He is the King of the Power Ballad (and AOR music in general.) Anyone that says this album is bad is clearly not hearing it or has some agenda against him. There is nothing bad about it. “No Erasin’,” “We’re Still Here,” and “No More Cryin’” are the ones I’d grown familiar with and were the perfect gateway to additional material like the lovely “In the Rain,” the only real rocker “Sun Shines Gray,” and “We Fly” that I instantly loved. It’s far from a perfect album, but for someone that has been out of the game for nearly thirty years, it’s a pretty excellent comeback.
If you go in expecting to hear “Separate Ways (Worlds Apart)” or even “Oh Sherrie” this is not the album for you. If you want to hear one of the true legendary voices of rock music unveiling where he is, then Traces is for you. Steve lost his passion and fire for music, something I totally relate to, then something reignited it and we have new music from the master. Forget trying to hold on to the past, or expecting him to pick up where he left off; just enjoy this wonderful album. I know that a lot of people (myself included) have speculated about him returning to the stage (whether solo or with Journey.) Here’s the deal: I’d love to finally see him perform, but the fact is if he were to join Journey again I doubt he would be able to do an extensive world tour. Those songs are not easy to sing. Maybe a limited run of solo dates, but is it worth to him to possibly lose what he has now or possibly not “be up to par” thus being forced to endure negative reviews and trolls commenting on videos? At this point, it doesn’t strike me as worth it. I’m just happy he decided to bless us with some new music and perhaps he’ll do another one sooner rather than later. Then again this may be a one-shot deal, and if that’s the case I’m fine with that.
Written by: Chris Martin