ToTo TOTO XIV
It’s been nearly 10 years since Toto’s Falling In Between but Toto XIV seems to reach much further back, being an implied ‘sequel’ to 1984’s iconic Toto IV. The line-up has changed again, albeit still headed up by David Paich (keys) and Steve Lukather (guitar). The opening track, Running Out Of Time is typical; chugging rhythms, searing guitar hook, whammy bar solo and huge vocals courtesy of Joseph Williams (son of Star Wars’ composer) and co. Holy War is another memorable rocker, driven hard by Luke’s crunchy riff and a stadium styled screamer of a solo. The band’s AOR sound is firmly in check with their savvy melodic hooks and infectious rhythms, married to an admirable dash of muso know-how. Standout track, 21st Century Blues ticks all these boxes with a cracking shuffle feel and Luke’s blues fusion solo – perhaps his best here. For guitarists, there’s much to like; 12-string acoustic on Unknown Soldier, pretty harmonics on The Little Things, clipped double-stops on Chinatown, tasty licks on the outro to Fortune. Sadly, there’s no instrumental this time round but for those hankering for great songs from these studio legends, Toto XIV will do very nicely indeed. is definitely a similarly audacious and quirky element to their music. In spite of many changes in personnel and record labels the band has stayed busy and has naturally developed over the years. Yet there’s still a naivety about their music that should encourage any player to have a go. Perhaps this is more unusual than startling musically, but still definitely worth checking out. what else could be expected from this legendary player? It’s almost a one-man show as he plays guitar and bass, with the only help coming from drummer Chris Taggart. Trower has always been great at creating an atmosphere with his music and the whole album benefits greatly from this. There’s a sophisticated quality too on tracks like Fallen and Til I Reach Home, and lots of high spots too. We particularly like Riff No 7 (Still Alive) that captures so much of the sound and delivery that we associate with the man. Generally it’s late night slow blues with an occasional lift in tempo and delivery for The One Saving Grace and Up And Gone. Robin remarks that “I can’t remember ever being so happy with a finished album before’”. We would add that it’s a polished performance that’s easy on the ear and well worth a listen.
first with his band after their personnel shake-up in 2013. It really shows his prowess as a performer. It’s essentially blues but with something of a bluegrass element that’s particularly evident on the opening track, I Am The Train and Brandy Balloon with lead guitar duties falling to Dusty Ciggaar who does a sterling job throughout. We particularly like this version of the Harry Stephenson song, Writing On The Wall and the slide work on Early Grace and Please Don’t Fail Me. Siegal has gained seven British Blues Awards and two nominations for the US Blues Music Awards - the only British blues artist to do so - and this album and a tour in March offers a great way to check out his music.