by J. Kyr
Steve Perry had stepped away from music after parting ways with Journey, he went on a real-life hiatus from music totally. Rumors swirled as to why; but in all the successes that touring, performing and fame can bring there was so much more going on, an emptiness that could not be quenched, a hip injury that was becoming so painful for Perry to continue. Though Journey has replaced Perry with Arnel Pineda a qualified vocalist, it still is not Perry. Thankfully, Perry fans will have something serious to chew on in his new album Traces, just released on October 5, 2018.
The music is personal. Perry lost the love of his life, his wife, in 2012 to stage 4 cancer. In a recent interview I watched with host Tracy Smith of CBS Sunday Morning, it was like coming home again for so many of us that grew up with Perry’s voice. He spoke about his father who used to sing to him, which was a huge influence on him. His wife Kellie, who captured his heart, as Perry states, “opened my heart.” In 2012 Kellie’s cancer was progressing to the point where they needed to talk about the future that was going to be without her. Perry explained, “She made promise not to go back into isolation.” After mourning her for two years, Traces is clearly a love letter to their journey.
At 69 years old, Perry is as vocally strong as ever. His voice is crystalline and soars. “No Erasing,” rings of good old fashioned 80s anthemic rock. What has been missing so terribly in the genre has finally arrived. With the loss of so many great voices in the music industry, it’s encouraging to see a master back at it again. The tune is about love, but almost a reintroduction and play on words to the millions of fans who have sorely missed Perry.
“No More Cryin’” is a rambling bluesy rock tune of reassurance and the promise of I won’t love again. Once again, a wall of sound, with full and thick rhythm guitar, elongated solo lines and Perry’s legendary rock voice soaring above it all.
I am not going to get into the diatribe of analyzing this album. Honestly, there is not a track on this album not worth having or savoring. For those that remember Perry being deemed “The Voice,” there is still strong evidence that mantle is continuing strong and true. Welcome back Stephen Ray Perry, we missed you.