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Shaw Blades – ‘Influence’ – CD Review

By JASON PRICE

Jack Blades (Night Ranger) and Tommy Shaw (Styx) are no strangers to? the music scene. With?more than three?decades of music history between them,? there is no doubt that this duo has influenced and inspired countless? numbers of performers. They are now paying homage to the sounds that influenced them. Influence is an idea they had discussed for years and have now?presented as the first release?from VH1 Classic Records. The album is the follow up to their 1995 collaboration Hallucination. The sophomore release does not disappoint.

The album is simply a collection of Tommy Shaw’s and Jack Blades’ favorite songs. A cover album often can?be dangerous?territory for an artist to venture into, but these classic vocalists make?raising the bar look easy. The album includes such hits of the ’60s?and ’70s as The Mamas & Papas’ ?California Dreamin?,? Simon & Garfunkel?s ?I Am a Rock? and ?The Sound of Silence,? Yes? ?Your Move? and the Zombies’ classic ?Time of the Season.”?? There isn’t a single choice on this album that?will fail to satisfy the listener.

In addition to the timeless songs, the duo brings fantastic?instrumentation and production to the disc. What? sets this disc apart from many other covers albums is the vocal work?by these two seasoned rockers. Blades and Shaw sound better?than ever and are at the top of their game. Their classic vocal?harmonies combined?with the crisp acoustic sound breathes new life into these hits. The fresh takes on these songs?make the music of the past easily accessible to a generation that?wasn’t necessarily brought up with these songs or the even the earlier outings by Shaw?and Blades.

Blades and Shaw shine on this album and bring what could?only be described as their unique presence or chemistry to each?song. It makes the listener wonder where the future will take them and if an album of new material could be on the way.

THE VERDICT: 5/5

TRACKLISTING:

1. Summer Breeze (Seals & Crofts, 1972)

2. Time of the Season (The Zombies, 1968)

3. Your Move (Yes, 1971)

4. I Am a Rock (Simon & Garfunkel, 1966)

5. Lucky Man (Emerson, Lake, & Palmer, 1970)

6. The Sound of Silence (Simon & Garfunkel, 1964)

7. California Dreamin? (The Mamas & The Papas, 1963)

8. On?a Carousel (The Hollies, 1965)

9. Dirty Work (Steely Dan, 1972)

10. For What It?s Worth (Buffalo Springfield, 1967)

11. Dance With Me (Orleans, 1975)

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