My three daughters are used to a lot when it comes to music, and I've led myself to believe that they have or will develop open minds when it comes to their dad's passion. The other day, I picked up our 14-year-old, and Neal Schon's new album, 'Vortex' was running in the CD player. Our oldest, who by the way has played the bass and a bit of guitar since she was nine-ish, sat there next to me and said: 'This sounds really good.' 'Yeah, it does, doesn't it?' I retorted, and she went on: 'It's great for driving, isn't it?' 'Yeah!' I said.
And she was right about both. Neal Schon has made a double instrumental album that sounds like a million. It has the songs, it has the sound, and it has the drive and mood that suits a long roadtrip. This is not run amok music, this is music for driving and thinking about things, but without being boring at all.
Let's pause for a second and dwell on this Schon guy. For those of you who don't move around in the rock genre, like me - I didn't have a clue - here's an update: Neal Schon formed Journey in 1973, sold 80+ million albums, played with Santana before that, released albums with Bad English, Jan Hammer, Sammy Hagar, Paul Rodgers, etc. Yeah, he's been around, and, no, he's not what you'd consider a spring chick.
The latter fact does not mean that 'Vortex' sounds dated in any way! It's fresh and dynamic, and it combines a lot of influences from rock, jazz and world music, but all held together in a sober way. It never spills over and becomes tacky. Those of you who remember Satriani's 'Surfing with the Alien' from 1987 (still in my humble view one of the most fabulous instrumental albums ever) will find parallels and similarities along the way in the slightly futuristic sounding moods also found on 'Vortex'. Not a bad thing at all!
Fans of guitar, fans of going for a long drive where you let your mind rest and enjoy the sound of guitar music filling the car, gather your pocket money or get thee to Spotify after the 22nd of June, because this is a quality experience!