Neal Schon - The Calling

Neal Schon The Calling cover
Neal Schon
The Calling
Frontiers Records
Neal is the man. He’s like a legend more or less. A living one as well as a very busy one. When not touring or recording with his main band Journey, he probably finds some time to record down various ideas for some potential future releases.
Hence, after 7 whole years since “I on U”, Neal is back with a new solo album. Quite close musically, more or less, to his previous solos works, Neal does something that loves rather too much, as he used to do in his Santana or probably the early Journey days. Rock is blended with jazz, fusion, funk, bluesy & progressive elements. Neal has produced the album and played all the guitars & the bass here. On drums, we find his former Journey band mate, Steve Smith & also Igor Len, a skillful classical, jazz and film composer who had previously collaborated with Neal, is featured on acoustic piano throughout the album. Furthermore, the Grammy award-winning special guest Jan Hammer (Jeff Beck, Mahavishnu Orchestra, Miami Vice soundtrack) recorded Moog synthesizer solos on the tracks “Fifty Six” and “Tumbleweeds”.
As the press release says the album was recorded during a Journey break in only four days. Hmm, well here comes trouble. None can argue that Neal is not a great guitarist. That doesn’t mean that everything he touches turns to gold. Awkwardly enough “The Calling” has some pleasant tunes such as: “Six String Waltz”, “Fifty Six”, “True Emotion” (which is the best song of the album), “Blue Rainbow Sky” & “Song of the Wind II”. The rest is OK stuff with some wonderful performances & fine sound but it is kinda generic in my opinion. I think that 4 days are not enough so as to write and record an album at least close to the amazing “Late Nite”. As I’m a big Journey fan and have been following Neal for years now, I can only expect the best outta him… nonetheless, regrettably, that ain’t the case with “The Calling”. It may be a decent release but for someone like Neal that just shouldn’t do. Therefore, I just have to wait… I hope not for another 7 years… till then, I think I’ll have to play “Late Nite” every so often…