MANILA, Philippines—Journey mainstay Neal Schon, the only member of the globally renowned arena band who’s been there since day one, has just released his latest solo venture—an all instrumental album he recorded on a four-day creative spree right after putting the finishing touches to his band’s last album “Eclipse.” The album titled “The Calling” is instantly interesting considering it is “showcasing a side of Schon that isn’t often represented on Journey albums.”
Released by MCA Music late last January, the 12-track instrumental set was created minus the pressure of giving in to the requirements of radio-friendly format, thus, guitar purists and music enthusiasts tired of hearing saleably safe and forcibly derivative hooks will find this one a breath of fresh air, especially that it comes from a guitar god whose talent sometimes gets underrated when stirred with Journey’s monumental pop rock success.
From the in-your-face “Back Smash” to the new age-meets-jazz-meets-movie soundtrack “Fifty Six,” to the contrapuntal, classical-sounding “Irish Field”, “The Calling” is a sonic adventure borne out of artistic depth resulting from years of exposure to a wide array of music. As proof of how inspired Schon was during the short but highly creative stretch he devoted in creating the album, he came up with “Irish Field” with his partner Michaele Salahi in mind. He and Michaele, best known for being part of Real Housewives of DC, got engaged last October.
For those wanting to hear something crafted through Schon’s distinctive melodic playing, the tracks “True Emotion” and “Blue Rainbow Sky” serve as enticing ditties. According to an insider, Schon “just found himself jamming out to his heart’s content in a wide range of contexts.”
Schon’s last solo album prior to “The Calling” was 2005’s “I On U.” His first was released in 1989 called “Late Night.” He has collaborated with other topnotch guitarists, including Santana; he was actually part of Santana’s band before while for a time he was affiliated to the supergroup “Bad English” which scored the now-classic “When I See You Smile.”
Excitingly, the American rocker whose present at every Journey recording and tour date gets to promote his album in Manila as his beloved group comes for a show here on March 21 at SM MOA Concert Grounds. Pinoy audiences might have heard and gotten copies of “The Calling” by the time the veteran act, with Philippine pride Arnel Pineda as lead singer takes the stage.
The fact that Schon was the same man who first felt Arnel deserved the coveted spot in the band makes him extra admired in the hearts of Filipino fans.
The new album from Neal Schon, is now out in CDs at leading record stores under MCA Music. It is also available worldwide online via iTunes and www.mymusicstore.com.ph.