Released: 2005, Frontiers Records/Atenzia Records
Reviewer: Anders Sandvall
I had no idea who Tommy was until I received this promo, so here comes a little background info about him. Tommy has been one of the most hired background singers in the history of rock, and he has had recording sessions with acts such as Mötley Crûe, Whitesnake, Coverdale/Page, Boston, Yes etc. He was born in North Carolina and grew up in the Southern parts of the US, listening to Beatles, R’n’B, and soul music. Tommy played in a band during college and planned to be a high school history teacher. His band was support to Andrae Crouch and he encouraged Tommy to go to L.A. where he met David Foster and Jay Graydon, whom were looking for a singer to their new project called Airplay, the rest is history.
Tommy’s career as session singer and songwriter had now started. In –84 he founded The Front, with drummer Bob Wilson, and an album was recorded; following a tour through the US and Europe. Now we move forward in time to when Tommy met Bruce Gaitsch, during a recording with Richard Marx. Tommy and Bruce wrote a song together, which was the launch the band King of Hearts. Their debut album came in –91 to Sweden, Germany, and Japan. Tommy sang the same year, lead vocals, on the Boston album, WALK ON. Tommy and Bruce also recorded a follow up with King of Hearts in '96, JOY WILL COME. This was also released in the same countries as stated before. After that album, Tommy and Bruce went separate ways and King of Hearts was laid to rest.
Tommy sang on a capella album in '98, together with Joseph Williams (Toto), Bobby Kimball, (Toto) and Jason Schekk, (Chicago). The songs they interpreted were hits from the seventies such as, “Stairway to Heaven”, “I Shot the Sheriff”, “What’s Going On” and “Sir Duke”.
During the years, Tommy has gotten more and more involved in the music industry; having his own company named ‘Sovereign Artists’. Now that we are through with the background information, we are ready to discuss the album.
This is his first solo album called ANYTHING FOR YOU, and here he gives the audience ten tracks. Some of the songs have been co-written with Michael Thompson, Bruce Gaitsch, and Greg Mathieson, but which one’s exactly, I do not know. Just by scanning through the titles, you’ll understand what the tracks are about. Love with a capital L. Four of the tracks have the word love listed in the title!
Fabrizio V. Zee Grossi, a known producer, has produced, mixed and arranged this solo album. If that’s not enough, he also plays bass, keyboards, samples, and loops. Fabrizio managed a pretty standard job with the production, making it sound just what you can expect when it comes to this genre of music. It’s mostly composed around Tommy’s voice, along with sharp guitar work by the lead guitarist, Rob.
Then came the question, “what genre of music does Tommy play?” The music is listed as melodic rock, but reading further down the page you’ll see classic rock and melodic hard rock. As always, when it comes to this genre we can expect a few regular and up tempo ballads; this album is indeed no exception.
Tommy’s voice fits this genre of music very well, and he really has the chance to show off his vocal ability. Rob Vanni, on guitar, also has the chance of showing his skills, along with the help of JM Scattolin on rhythm guitar.
This has a lead vocals, guitar based, melodic rock, sound. If you want very melodic hard rock, with a distinct flair of the 80’s, this also fits well. Keyboards are indeed used, but the main focus is used on lead vocals and guitar.
“Learning How to Love” has sharp guitar riffs, and the focus definitely lies on Tommy’s voice. “You Got the Love” is a heavier track, and Rob contributes with a solid, hard guitar work. There are many tempo changes; from ballad to a more heavy melodic rock. “Remember Our Love” starts off as a ballad that leads into an up tempo ballad. “Anything for You” is another ballad in all the verses, but in the chorus the tempo rises to mid tempo, melodic rock. “To Say You Love Me” is yet again, another ballad, with the tempo rising during the chorus. This song has real potential, on becoming a major radio hit. “Second Chance”, allows Rob to dazzle on guitar, and for Tommy to show off his voice capacity. The tracks, “Only You Can Give Me”, “Skin”, “The Garden”, and “Say a Little Prayer”, are 80’s melodic rock tracks. Tommy receives help on a lot of the chorus’s, with the music also evolving around his voice in every track.
Tommy has a nice voice, which compliments the music very well. The album is packed with competent musicians, taking special note on Rob, who is a genius on guitar. Even though the music is melodic hard rock, with a lot of the 80’s feeling; Tommy relies totally on song, guitar, bass, and drums, but minimal on keyboards. The music is strong, and Tommy has stylish album art. There is anything negative to say of the production, and 10 songs are reasonable.
A few negative things are the constant focus on love throughout almost every lyric. It also wouldn’t hurt if Tommy had a few more upbeat tracks. Sometimes it takes the influences of the 80’s overhand, and the title of the album is not to Tommy’s benefit.
This album is made for every fan of Tommy’s previous; King of Hearts being an example. Personally this is too melodic for me, and way too many up tempo ballads.