STEVE LUKATHER – Bridges (2023)

STEVE LUKATHER - Bridges (2023) - full

Over the course of five decades STEVE LUKATHER has placed an indelible stamp on pop culture. Alongside his tenure as the only member of TOTO to never take a hiatus from the band, he has performed on thousands of albums as a session musician. Amongst these musical contributions are some of the most successful, influential and enduring records of all-time including Michael Jackson’s Thriller. Additionally, he released a memoir titled The Gospel According To Luke which was a global best-seller. He continues to be TOTO’s band leader, a long-tenured member of Ringo’s All-Starr Band, and a solo artist.
Luke’s upcoming ninth solo album, “Bridges”, could not be more accurately titled. He shares, “I see it as a bridge between my solo music and TOTO music. The fact that Joseph Williams, David Paich and I wrote most of the record, and the fact I invited many of the old ToTo gang to come and play, co-writers like Randy Goodrum and Stan Lynch brings all this together.
It also proves that most of my old pals and I are still great friends, and I wanted to do a record ‘in the style of,’ as TOTO will never record another studio album. This is as close as we will get.”

If David Paich and Joseph Williams are both heavily involved with ”Bridges”, why is this not a Toto album?” Many Toto members, past to present, appear but Lukather’s stamp is unmistakable. Bridges sounds like a Steve Lukather album to me.
Williams, the long-tenured Toto singer, steps into the producer chair, employing a similar plan to the last Toto album, ‘All In’. His work is only to prepare things for the recording not to ‘shape the sound’ of the album, allowing Lukather’s arrangements to shine and highlighting his vocal strengths.

The results are evident from the opening notes of “Far From Over,” a track composed by Williams and Trev Lukather, who also adds bass, backing vocals and synthesizers while joining his father on guitar. It’s a hard-driving rock song that throws down a lyrical gauntlet: Steve Lukather still has much to contribute. Simon Phillips provides a relatively straightforward yet energetic backbeat.

“Not My Kind Of People,” another song featuring Phillips, flies along with a distorted Lukather lead guitar and solo, with a Beatles-influenced vocal arrangement. Stan Lynch, a long-time Lukather collaborator and former drummer to Tom Petty and The Heartbreakers, contributes lyrics. At the same time, David Paich, Joseph Williams and Lukather handle the song’s basic structure. The result is another stellar hard rocker, further enhanced by Leland Sklar’s bass.

“Someone,” written by Lukather, producer Joseph Williams and David Paich, has a sparse, contemporary feel. Williams provides keyboards with Paich along with percussion and background vocals, adding a very complimentary production that allows Lukather’s vocals to get noticed. Paich and Williams’ keyboards are restrained and atmospheric. That’s not to say the song doesn’t rock. Lukather’s bass is in the pocket and supporting, while his guitars are robust and nuanced. Drummer Shannon Forrest provided a propulsive backbeat met by a soaring Lukather solo.

“All Forevers Must End,” written by Lukather and frequent co-writer Randy Goodrum, has a straight-ahead 90s power ballad feel. Williams handles all the electronic keyboards, backing vocals and percussion along with a tasteful backing, while Sklar’s bass is nuanced and supportive. Lukather’s vocals are emotional and powerful, and his piano touches are just what the song needs.

The album’s first single, “When I See You Again,” has driving rhythms (featuring Simon Phillips on drums), urgent vocals and slashing guitars. Combining the directness of his earlier solo work and the melodic flair of Toto, “When I See You Again” represents the work of an iconic legacy artist not willing to rest on his laurels.

“Take My Love” was written by current Toto band member Steve Maggiora with Warren Modaunt Huar, and is an effective change of pace. Maggiora adds keyboards and backing vocals with Williams. On this bluesy track, Jorgen Carlsson is on a sliding bass, while former Toto bandmate Shannon Forrest sits in on a ride cymbal-rich backing on drums.
The blues-based tale is a perfect fit for a Lukather album. His blue shout, the Hammond organ touches and rich backing vocals would not be out of place on a Paul Rodgers album. Lukather then raises the bar with his impassioned solos and vocals.

“Burning Bridges,” also written with Lynch, Paich and Williams, is a bluesy falling shuffle with prominent Fender Rhodes and touches of organ and synth. Simon Phillips returns on a song that would have been a good fit on any Lukather solo album. Despite the inclusion of Paich and Willaims on keyboards and vocals, the music sounds more like Los Lobotomys than it does Mindfields.

The album closes with “I’ll Never Know,” written by Lukather and Williams. The arpeggiated guitar intro recalls that of Toto’s “Caught in the Balance,” but the song’s arrangement has a different dynamic. Lyrically, it represents an outcome of a relationship, as Lukather tells his side of the story with soaring lead guitar supported by bassist Jorgen Carlsson’s prominent runs and Shannon Forrest’s astute rim work.

Steve Lukather, with a little help from his friends, has produced one of the best solo works of his stellar career. It’s quite TOTO-ish, however pure Lukather front-end.


01 – Far From Over
02 – Not My Kind Of People
03 – Someone
04 – All Forevers Must End
05 – When I See You Again
06 – Take My Love
07 – Burning Bridges
08 – I’ll Never Know

Steve Lukather – lead vocals, guitars, bass, piano
David Paich – keyboards, vocals
Joseph Williams – backing vocals, keyboards, percussion
Steve Maggiora – keyboards, backing vocals
Leland Sklar – bass
Jorgen Carlsson – bass
Trev Lukather – bass, backing vocals, synthesizers
Simon Phillips – drums
Shannon Forrest – drums

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