Released: 2004, Frontiers Records/ Atenzia
Reviewer: Anders Sandvall
This is Mr. Blades first attempt to go solo and he is trying his wings on this released called simply “JACK BLADES”. But don’t think that Jack is a newcomer in the music industry. He started out way back in the 80’s as a front man and lead vocalist in the very famous melodic/hardrock band Night Ranger and released five albums with them before he moved on and made a very successful collaboration with the guitarist Ted Nugent, Tommy Shaw the guitarist/vocalist from Styx and the drummer Michael Cartellone in a band called Damn Yankees. They made two albums together that became very successful before Jack and Night Ranger made a reunion in the beginning of the 90’s and they released the album “NEVERLAND” which did very well in Japan, it sold 40.000 albums in the first week and Night Ranger also toured in Japan.
Mr. Blades is a dynamic singer and he has the ability to write strong songs. He is also a great front man, a strong bass player as well as a very good producer. Mr. Blades has written songs for Ozzy, Great White, Styx, Journey and a lot of different country artists as well. He has also written film music for Armageddon, Wayne’s World, Tommy Boy and Rock Star etc. As a producer he has worked with Ted Nugent, Great White and his own son Colin Blades etc.
Now it’s time for Jack to release his own solo album and he is surrounded with very famous people like Tommy Shaw (Styx) who plays guitar and does a duet with Jack in the song “SHINE ON”, Neal Schon (Journey) also on guitar, Michael Lardie (Great White) and Warren de Martini (Ratt). He has also worked with his old friends from Night Ranger Kelly Keagy, Brad Gillis and Jeff Watson amongst others.
Mr. Blades has produced the album by himself and he has done a very good job. He has managed to create a great sound and production on this solo album. He is also taking care of lead vocals, guitar, bass and back up vocals. He has an amazing voice and a very broad vocal range. I don’t have any info about where this album is recorded nor who has written the music/lyrics, but I think that Mr. Blades has written it all.
“SEA OF EMOTIONS”, “TO TOUCH THE KEYS” and “ON TOP OF THE WORLD” are very melodic hardrock tracks with Jack’s lead vocals high up in the mix. “SHINE ON” is melodic hardrock influenced by heavy rock. It’s a duet between Jack and Tommy with a very sing a long friendly chorus. “WE ARE THE ONES” more heavy rock with heavy guitar on top of the sound picture. There are some talk-song in the verses and some ordinary vocals in the chorus. “ALONE TONIGHT” is a very slow ballad. Jack shows off what a voice he has and this song has also a very sing a long friendly chorus. “SOMETIMES YOU GOTTA HAVE FAITH” is heavy rock influenced by melodic hardrock. “WHO YOU WANT TO BE” is more of an up tempo ballad with a lot of guitars. “SOMEDAY” is regular rock with influences of melodic hardrock and also this song is very sing along friendly. “BREAKING IT DOWN” is another slow ballad with acoustic guitar at the top. “NATURE’S WAY” closes this album and it’s a rock tune that could be taken for an up-tempo ballad.
Mr. Blade’s solo debut feels a bit shattered, like he doesn’t really know what kind of music he should play. I don’t have any favourite song; all of the songs feel pretty ordinary. The cover is not of such a high class either. But if you’re a fan of his old bands this album shouldn’t be a disappointment. But personally I’m not impressed by Jack Blades at all.