Perry breaks long si­lence with Traces

Winnipeg Sun - - ENT-SHOWBIZ -

Steve Perry has been away for quite a while but he’s never re­ally been gone. From the un­for­get­table use of Don’t Stop Believin’ on the last

The So­pra­nos episode to the way his former band found a new, sound-alike singer on the In­ter­net and, last year, Jour­ney’s in­duc­tion into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, Perry and his pro­longed ab­sence have been of­ten on our minds.

Traces is Perry’s first solo al­bum since 1994 and, cliched as it may sound, it re­ally is a very per­sonal work with some songs that would have sounded out of place on a Jour­ney record. Made in part to ful­fil a prom­ise to his part­ner who suc­cumbed to breast cancer in 2012, Traces is dom­i­nated by bal­lads in many guises by some­one whose quasi-op­er­atic voice made him one of their most mem­o­rable in­ter­preters.

Launch­ing with the first sin­gle, No Erasin’, im­me­di­ately in­jects Traces with nos­tal­gia through an up­dated recre­ation of a teenage love with an un­err­ingly pre­cise open­ing line — “I know it’s been a long time comin’. ” Perry has said the song was meant to evoke a high school re­union and — along with We’re Still Here and Sun Shines Gray — it’s the one that most re­sem­bles a Jour­ney track.

In The Rain is the al­bum’s tour de force but sans any bom­bast, one of Perry’s most emo­tional vo­cals sup­ported by a re­strained pi­anoand-strings ar­range­ment

em­pha­siz­ing its an­guish: “You got me even though you’re gone.”

On Easy To Love, Perry’s lead vo­cals have just a touch of Rod Ste­wart’s gruff­ness while his back­ing vo­cals are satin smooth and George Har­ri­son’s I Need You is trans­formed into a heart­felt soul bal­lad. Break­ing his long si­lence in such a mem­o­rable way, Traces shows that for Perry re­turn­ing to mu­sic was about much more than keep­ing his word.

Steve PerryTraces (Fan­tasy Records)

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