"The invited guest part…I’ve lost count!" - Steve Hackett’s most recent collaborations and guest appearances examined by Alan Hewitt.
Well, here we are again once more with another batch of albums by a variety of artists whose work has been graced by Mr Hackett in one way or another. The attentive among you will have noticed that some albums are missing from this feature… Well, they have been reviewed elsewhere either in this edition or in the last one, so there!
Anyway on with the show as they say….
First up is the Ulfur album by Icelandic band Todmobile. Regular readers will recall the review of Steve’s guest appearance at a couple of their gigs last year in Iceland by TWR roving reporter and all round good egg, Mr Jack Beermann but here the emphasis is on the band’s recorded work. The album opens with the title track, Ulfur, replete with full Prog keyboards and some surprisingly heavy guitar licks and I admire the band for singing in their native language rather than English as it adds to the edginess of the performance. The album’s third cut Eg sakna pin is a surprisingly delicate affair, piano driven and with an exquisite vocal from Andre Gylfadottir. Steve’s contribution comes in the shape of two tracks: Midnight Sun and Resounding Eyes the former Hackett fans will be familiar with from its appearance as a bonus track on the special edition of Wolflight, here it is in its natural habitat so to speak, and equally enjoyable. Resounding Eyes is equally enjoyable and having the added bonus of having been co-written by Jon Anderson no less! A solid album of enjoyable rock which anyone would enjoy with or without Steve’s presence.
Todmobile: Ulfur. Sena SCD 629
The name Billy Sherwood will be familiar to most prog fans from his time with Yes. Billy’s latest solo album: Citizen features an enviable cast lost of alumni from the Prog world including Steve and the late Chris Squire among them. The album opens with its title track, a lush guitar driven anthem while Man & The Machine features Mr Hackett’s inimitable fretwork. In fact, many of these tracks have the mark of latter day Yes writ large upon them which is no bad thing and probably has something to do with the fact that Squire, Kaye, Geoff Downes and Patrick moraz all make their presence known throughout what is another extremely enjoyable album.
Billy Sherwood: Citizen. Frontiers Records FR CD 710
Steve’s involvement with charitable causes is something his fans have admired for some time and once again Steve has contributed to a charitable project close to his heart. The Voices For Hospices, as its title suggest is a fund raising project organised by the Worldwide Hospice Palliative Care Alliance, a cause close to Steve’s heart.
The album opens with Steve’s contribution, Clusters, another example of his command of and love for the acoustic guitar which his fans will love. But there is much more than Steve on this effort. The Gandalf’s Fist track, A Painter Caught At Sea is another delight, emotive and descriptive this is another highlight in an album full of them and all for such a good cause too!
Various Artists: Voices For Hospices. Progressive Gears PGR-CD0001
Dave Kerzner is one of the up and coming starts of the current progressive scene and a damn fine musician to boot. Steve’s fans will already be familiar wit Dave as he contributed to the recent Genesis Revisited II project. Dave’s latest album: New World is a master work, breathtaking in its scale and scope There is simply too much going on in this album to do it justice in such a few words suffice to say that if this is the way new prog is going then I for one will be playing catch up for some time as this is an impressive effort in so many ways. I wont tell you where Steve appears on this one but suffice to say his contribution is as excellent as you would expect and indeed, there are a LOT of other talents present here making this one of the best prog albums I have heard in quite a while.
Dave Kerzner: New World. RecPlay RCPLCD01 (Standard Edition), RecPlay RCPLCD02 (Deluxe Edition)
And that really is it … at least until Steve starts working in earnest again and who knows where his talents may turn up next. Rest assured, wherever that may be we shall be documenting them in TWR!