CIRCLE OF FRIENDS (feat. Jeff Scott Soto, Robin McAuley, Robin Beck) – The Garden (2022) *HQ*

CIRCLE OF FRIENDS (feat. Jeff Scott Soto, Robin McAuley, Robin Beck) - The Garden (2022) full

Escape Music just released the much-anticipated album from CIRCLE OF FRIENDS, titled “The Garden“. This is an awesome project featuring top class melodic rock / AOR musicians including lead vocalists Jeff Scott Soto, James Christian (House Of Lords), Doro, Robin Beck, Darby Mills, Robin McAuley (MSG / Black Swan), Tanya Rizkala (Epic), Karen Fell (Tao) among others.
And players are terrific too; Joel Hoekstra on Guitars (Whitesnake), Steve Mann on keys / lead guitar (MSG / Lionheart), Steve Morris (guitars / Heartland), Tommy Denander (guitars & keys / Radioactive), Eric Ragno and many more.
Of the 13 tracks, 4 are covers, including BOC’s classic ‘Don’t Fear the Reaper’ and the little-known Fierce Heart AOR song ‘Never Gonna Make Me Cry’, which should be revered in the same company as Journey’s ‘Don’t Stop Believin’ and is given a phenomenal work-out here by House Of Lords’ James Christian.
The remaining 9 are originals, most written by Sweden’s Mikael Rosengren and his co-writers.

”The Garden” is an album put together by Bruce Mee – as a tribute to his late mother, who died of cancer in 2020 – called Circle Of Friends because the majority of the singers appearing on the CD are personal friends of Bruce and were all willing to help bring this wonderful concept to life.
Growing up in the 70s/80s, Bruce developed a love for Melodic Rock, his first ever live show being when his mother took him and his brother, Chris, to see Alvin Stardust in 1974. But it was in 1978 when Chris bought Rainbow ‘Rising’ that Bruce’s musical taste began to turn away from ABBA to the more hard rocking strains of the likes of Blackmore, Dio, Magnum, Survivor, Dare, Bonfire, Night Ranger and many others.
Of course, a strong love for ABBA still remains, explaining the gorgeous cover of ‘Knowing Me, Knowing You’ by Robin Beck on ‘The Garden’.

Over the years, certain other songs appealed to Bruce, almost demanding to be updated to a more modern sound. Tracks like Blondie’s ‘11:59’, BOC’s classic ‘Don’t Fear the Reaper’ and the little-known Fierce Heart song ‘Never Gonna Make Me Cry’ are getting a very cool, new melodic rock approach.

On the originals, Jaime Kyle’s brings her own song ‘Take My Love To Heart’ to the CD, with backing vocals supplied by the likes of Kevin Chalfant (The Storm, Two Fires). Elsewhere we have the Queen of Metal, Doro Pesch, blasting out the opener ‘Little Piece of Heaven’, followed by the likes of Jeff Scott Soto, Robin Beck, Darby Mills, Karen Fell (with Ten’s Gary Hughes on backing vox), Robin McAuley (MSG), Tanya Rizkala, Gabrielle De Val, Cheri Lyn and Ellinor Asp.

On guitar we have special guest Joel Hoekstra of Whitesnake, along with Steve Mann, Tommy Denander and more. The rhythm section is supplied by drummer Josh Devine (One Direction) and bassist Wayne Banks (Saxon). All songs are very well recorded & produced, mixed by Fredrik Folkare (Nordic Union / ex-Eclipse).
Highly Recommended


01 – Little Piece Of Heaven (With Doro)
02 – Take My Love To Heart (With Jaime Kyle)
03 – Never Gonna Make Me Cry (With James Christian)
04 – Bad Blood (With Jeff Scott Soto)
05 – Knowing Me, Knowing You (With Robin Beck)
06 – Truth Or Dare (With Karen Fell)
07 – Alone (With Robin McAuley)
08 – Trick Of The Light (With Darby Mills)
09 – 11.59 (With Ellinor Asp)
10 – Time Has Come (With Cheri Lyn)
11 – When He’s Gone (With Gabrielle De Val)
12 – Love Is Tough (With Tanya Rizkala)
13 – Don’t Fear The Reaper (With Robin McAuley)



2 Responses

  1. Anonymous says:

    “Take My Love To Heart” is just a re-recording of Jaime Kyle’s “Bombs Away”… other than that, I love the diversity here.

  2. melodified says:

    That’s a very good album!

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