Released by: Frontiers Music s.r.l.
Release Date: Out Now!!!
Genre: Melodic Hard Rock
Jeff Scott Soto – Vocals and Keys
Edu Cominato – Drums
Tony Dickinson – Bass
Jorge Salan – Guitars
Howie Simon – Guitars
Leo Mancin – Guitars
1. Livin’ The Life (ROCK STAR) with Erik Martensson (Eclipse/W.E.T.)
2. Don’t Let It End (YNGWIE MALMSTEEN) – with Dino Jelusick (Animal Drive)
3. Mysterious (TALISMAN) – with Eric Martin (Mr. Big)
4. Believe in Me (JSS) – with Nathan James (Inglorious)
5. Coming Home (SOUL SIRKUS) – with Deen Castronovo (Revolution Saints, Journey)
6. I’ll Be Waiting (TALISMAN) – with Alirio Netto (Shaman, Queen Extravaganza)
7. Callin’ All Girls (EYES) – with Russell Allen (Symphony X, Allen/Lande)
8. Colour My XTC (TALISMAN) – with Renan Zonta (Electric Mob)
9. Warrior (AXEL RUDI PELL) – with Johnny Gioeli (Hardline, Axel Rudi Pell)
10. Holding On (JSS) – with BJ (SOTO, Spektra)
11. Again 2 B Found (HUMANIMAL) – with Mats Leven (Candlemass)
Jeff Scott Soto is the album reviewer’s dream. Pretty much all he has to do is sing and all the reviewer has to do is say, “The man can sing,” and leave it at that. When he decides to do a turbo-charged covers album of some of his best songs from throughout his storied career that makes it even easier because his catalog is stronger than Hercules. Oh, you’re gonna make it a Duets album with some of the best voices in Melodic Hard Rock out there today? This is gonna be like shooting fish in a barrel!
OK, so not killing it with a clever title, The Duets Collection Volume 1 (I’m loving the fact there will likely be another one, however) that’s pretty much my only issue with the album (and that’s not even an issue.) As a longtime fan of JSS he pretty much nailed the songs that were perfect for the first volume of this collection. Going as far back as his time with Yngwie Malmsteen with the brilliant take on “Don’t Let It End” with future Whitesnake frontman Dino Jelusik. Their voices meld perfectly on this Metal classic. Of course, a JSS retrospective would not be complete without some Talisman which is covered with “Mysterious” with Eric Martin, “Colour My XTC” with Renan Zonta, and “I’ll Be Waiting” with Alirio Netto. I was very pleased to see that not only was his time with Axel Rudi Pell represented with “Warrior,” but he was joined by current Pell singer Johnny Gioeli. My absolute favorite tracks were “Believe In Me” which happens to be one of my favorite songs from Jeff that has Inglorious singer Nathan James and Soul Sirkus track “Coming Home” with Deen Castronovo. Rounding out this amazing collection you have Russell Allen teaming up with Jeff on the Eyes classic “Calling All Girls,” Mats Leven on the Humanimal track “Again 2 B Found,” and BJ from Spektra and SOTO on the JSS solo song “Holding On.”
Jeff Scott Soto has been going strong for three decades and still has such a powerful voice. Despite the lack of touring due to Covid, which is something he has done most of his career, he has managed to keep himself busy making music, doing online performances with various musicians, and making this album. He truly is one of the unsung heroes of the music world who deserves far more recognition and respect for his talents than he gets. I know with TSO and Sons of Apollo he’s getting his name out there more and more, but his name should be spoken in every household all over the world. As should the folks he has on The Duets Collection Volume 1. Not only does he have amazing singers involved, but his band is incredible as well. Some may scoff at this as just another Hits package retooled under different auspices. Maybe you’re right to a degree, but these performances are brilliant and deserve to be checked out.
Written by: Chris Martin