After the excellent Transition from 2012, there is now its successor I Found the Sun Again, already the eighth studio album by Steve Lukather, best known as the founder/guitarist/composer/singer of the incredibly successful American band Toto. The album will be released simultaneously with the solo album from Toto singer Joseph Williams, Denizen Tenant (which you can read my review of HERE), a deliberate move by the dynamic duo.
Lukather’s eight track album features five of his songs and three covers: Traffic’s The Low Spark of High Heeled Boys, Joe Walsh’s Welcome to the Club and Robin Trower’s Bridge of Sighs. Lukather describes the recording process as the easiest and most fun of his career to date, the creative sparks flying. “Everyone brought their best game to the table”, he recalls of the sessions. The guitarist has surrounded himself with old friends like drummer Gregg Bissonette, keyboardist Jeff Babko and Toto co-founder David Paich. In addition, the album also features contributions from Joseph Williams and Ringo Starr, whose All-Starr Band Lukather has been a member of since 2012.
The entire album was recorded almost live in the studio. It was all about keeping the ’70s feel of all those classic albums we know and love so much. The recordings date from more than a year ago, so from before the pandemic, everyone together in the studio without facemasks, and was recorded in just eight days. Such an exercise in his Toto days could sometimes get seriously out of hand, but the spontaneity is clearly audible here, benefiting the music and the atmosphere on the album.
Along For the Ride is an excellent opener in the best Lukather/Toto tradition. A serious rock song with a great guitar riff and Lukather’s signature vocals, strong drumming from Bissonnette and a Who-like organ sound. Lukather ‘lets rip’ in truly characteristic style at the end. More of the same please. Serpent Soul, however, is quite a different animal, a swinging bluesy shuffle with a twist. As to the identity of the ‘serpent’ of the title, the guitarist won’t comment (might it be Jeff Porcaro’s widow, with whom he is fighting an ongoing legal battle?).
The Low Spark of High Heeled Boys is an interesting choice, a lesser known song by Traffic’s Steve Winwood and Jim Capaldi, alternately a slow blues and a steady rock song with raw vocals, swinging Hammond organ and guitar sound referring to, respectively, Joe Satriani’s and Jeff Beck’ phrasing. A more than ten minute jam session by Lukather and friends, it’s for the true enthusiasts. Journey Through is another highlight. Friend/idol Jeff Beck may not be present in person but certainly in spirit on this instrumental in which Lukather shows the best of himself. Brilliant smooth lines supported by a close-knit band and rhythm section. The influence of fusion guitarist Larry Carlton can also be heard on this excellent song.
The influences of yet another guitarist, Joe Walsh, are unmistakably present on his song Welcome to the Club. You can also catch snippets of his classic Rocky Mountain Way. Lukather sings and plays exactly like Walsh, whom he has been friends with for years. The title track is a quiet ballad, an ode to new girlfriend Amber, with an extra mentioning for the fretless bass guitar and vocal harmonies in addition to Lukather’s lyrical playing. Steve himself describes the song as “a cross between Pink Floyd, Christopher Cross and Joni Mitchell under the influence of drugs”. Well, what can I say…
Run To Me is a Beatles-esque song with Toto buddy Joseph Williams as co-singer, the legendary Ringo Starr featuring on drums. As previously mentioned, Lukather has been playing in his All-Starr band for quite some time and has a great adoration for his idol, whom he considers a close friend. Now good-old Ringo can finally pay back, and he does so with some style. It’s also strongly influenced by the Fab Four in terms of length of the song, the shortest on the album by a country mile clocking in at just over three minutes.
The classic closer Bridge of Sighs, written by Robin Trower, is the second longest track at eight-and-a-half minutes. Futuristic sound samples are followed by a Hendrix-like song unfolding. Lukather again at his best, complete with distorted guitar and Hendrix-like vocals. And do I hear some tiny but obvious fragments of Purple Haze in there? The Hammond organ sings and wails at the same time, after which Lukather himself comes up with one of his characteristic solos. An excellent finale.
The final verdict: Steve Lukather has released another solid album, with the help of some friends. Production all round is excellent, his versatility provides sufficient variation, although not all the songs are equally strong. Positive exceptions are Along For the Ride, Journey Through and Bridge of Sighs. Subconsciously one can’t help thinking, could he not, with the help of Joseph Williams, been a little more creative and made one final really great Toto album? To ask the question is to answer it…
01. Along For The Ride (4:56)
02. Serpent Soul (4:55)
03. The Low Spark Of High Heeled Boys (10:35)
04. Journey Through (5:55)
05. Welcome To The Club (5:57)
06. I Found The Sun Again (6:18)
07. Run To Me (3:18)
08. Bridge Of Sighs (8:24)
Total Time – 50:18
Steve Lukather – Guitars, Vocals
Jeff Babko – Keyboards, Vocals
Gregg Bissonnette – Drums, Percussion
Jorgen Carlsson – Bass Guitar
David Paich – Keyboards, Vocals
John Pierce- Bass Guitar
Ringo Starr – Drums
Joseph Williams – Vocals
Record Label: Mascot
Country of Origin: U.S.A.
Date of Release: 26th February 2021
– I Found the Sun Again (2021)
– Transition (2013)
– All’s Well That Ends Well (2010)
– Ever Changing Times (2008)
– Santamental (2003)
– No Substitutions: Live in Osaka (2001)
– Luke (1997)
– Candyman (1994)
– Lukather (1989)