SOLEIL MOON – On The Way To Everything (2011)
The first album of SOLEIL MOON, ’99s ‘World’s Apart’ was one of the best AOR / West Coast / Adult Contemporary CD’s of the nineties, and still ranks in my Top 50 list of the best of all time. Yes, it’s that good.
Soleil Moon isn’t so much known even between fans of the genre (which it is a crime), nor their members, but all of them are top-shelf music-biz pros – producers, writers, and first-call session musicians – playing the music they love in order to discover what truly matters to them.
Not that working with everyone from Beyonce to Richard Marx — as the busy players behind Soleil Moon have done — isn’t a thrill in itself, but this is the project that lets these musical journeymen get in touch with something very personal.
The latest example of what that process sounds like is the second Soleil Moon album, “On The Way To Everything”.
The man who makes it all come to life is Larry King. No, not that Larry King – save the jokes, he’s heard them all.
This Larry King is a mind-bogglingly multi-talented singer, songwriter, player, producer and bandleader who has been a full-time musician of one stripe or another since he was 12 years old.
After his college years, King moved to L.A. in the late ‘80s, forming the group Human Factor. They cut a record for the Warner Bros-distributed Caliber label that earned some attention, but by the early ‘90s, he returned to lucrative session work, becoming an in-demand singer for ‘every jingle that had a guy screaming his balls off’ as he jokingly describes it.Before long, King’s connections led to him becoming something of an entrepreneur, establishing his own recording studio, publishing business, production company, and more — all of which are still thriving – but after this long list of twists and turns, he finally found his way to Soleil Moon.
King sees life as ‘a constant state of reinventing ourselves’, and for him that meant partnering with keyboardist/producer John Blasucci to bring life to some of the more personal songs he’d been writing, ones that wouldn’t become part of his production projects for other artists.
“I like to do material that’s kind of art-rockish, album-oriented… timeless tunes that are more about orchestration and less a ‘let’s make a pop tune for radio and follow the trends’ kind of thing.” , says King.
The pair dubbed their partnership Soleil Moon, expressing the Yin/Yang-like balance of both their working dynamic and their music. Supported by a batch of world-class players (master Michael Thompson on guitars, drummer Kenny Aronoff of Lynyrd Skynyrd and Todd Sucherman of Styx), Soleil Moon released Worlds Apart in 1999, making a big impact on Adult Contemporary radio with ‘Willingly’, ‘Never Say Goodbye’ and the title track.
More than a decade later, Soleil Moon is finally set to unveil the long-awaited follow-up album, “On The Way To Everything”.
Why the wait? For a guy with as many irons in the fire as King, it’s not so easy to get the kind of clear head you need for such an all-consuming labor of love.
The songs were recorded over the past 10 years, whenever King and his cronies could steal an opportune moment in the studio in between other projects.
And while it’s not easy throwing everything you’ve got into an endeavor that’s more about artistic expression than commercial appeal, it’s a risk Soleil Moon is willing to take for the sake of “On The Way To Everything”.
Blending bittersweet, melodic ballads, burning hard-rock riffs, smooth grooves, and anything else that happens to suit their fancy, Soleil Moon has made an album of supreme musicality.
Opener “History Repeats Its Pages” is a pulsing, powerful history lesson lamenting how rarely the human race learns from its mistakes. Lush, soaring ballad “Love the Way You Love” deals with the joys and complexities of romantic relationships. The emotional travelogue really kicks into full gear with “On the Way To Everything,” whose blend catchy rhythms and propulsive pop melody frames a father’s hopes for a newborn child just beginning to play the game of life.
Soon, however, things turn darker; “Goodnight Irene” is about the death of a child, surrounded by a beautiful piano and great atmosphere. The Americana, power-chord-driven narrative of “Freedom” goes on to reflect on the horrors of child abuse, and the lengths to which a battered boy must go to escape.
Then the churning instrumental rocker “Burn” appears, exploding with a confusion and anger that are natural reactions to the previous track’s tragic tale.
After some infectious odes to aging and wanderlust with “Down”, the transcendent “Move On” returns us to the album’s “life’s a journey” theme, before the big, bold, “Here I Am” closes things out with a statement of joyful acceptance, the kind that can only come at the end of a soul’s long, eventful travels.
“On The Way To Everything” shows clearly that Larry King and John Blasucci have abundant confidence in themselves and the music they make together.
Impeccably produced and arranged entirely by King and Blasucci (who also co-wrote all the tracks), this new album is more Adult Contemporary than its predecessor, still retaining the West Coast / AOR essence blending King’s rock instincts with John’s sleek smooth-flavored approach into a sophisticated slab of music.
“On The Way To Everything” offers high quality music and intelligent lyrics, something that is not easy to find nowadays.
You’ve seen it first here, at 0dayrox
01 – History Repeats Its Pages
02 – Love The Way You Love
03 – On The Way To Everything
04 – Blackbird
05 – Goodnight Irene
06 – Freedom
07 – Burn
08 – Down
09 – Colorado
10 – Move On
11 – Here I Am
Larry King – Lead & Backing Vocals
John Blasucci – Keyboards, Synths, Guitar, Backing Vocals
Chris Siebold – Guitars
Lamaar Jones – Bass
Khari Parker – Drums