Twenty years on from his last solo outing, American musical icon Glenn Frey is gearing up for the release of his brand new record and it certainly has been a long time coming for one of industry’s key players.
The six-time Grammy Award winner and Rock and Roll Hall Of Fame inductee first found international success as the front man of American super band The Eagles way back in the early 70’s. Over the course of ten years the band produced some of musics most cherished and iconic additions. Songs like Heartache Tonight, Take It Easy, Tequila Sunrise, Life In The Fast Lane, Desperado and the bands signature track, Hotel California, quickly became staples in the musical fabric of society and are, to this day, recognised the world over as some of musics most influential recordings.
The Eagles went on to become the biggest selling American band in history selling in excess of 120 million records before parting ways in 1980 following the release of the bands 6th studio album, The Long Run. With the group officially defunct it gave Frey the opportunity to dedicate time to his solo career which boomed throughout the eighties with some of the decades most popular songs including You Belong To The City and the unforgettably infectious, The Heat Is On. There seemed to be an endless supply of hits brewing inside of the multi-talented musician and the world hasn’t been able to get enough of the music veteran throughout a career that has spanned over forty years.
Putting his solo reigns down to focus on his return to The Eagles in the mid nineties it has been a long time since the star took to the studio to record as a solo artist instead opting for the demanding life as an Eagle but the wait has finally come to an end as we are about to be presented with the musicians first record in two decades.
Titled After Hours, the new collection is an important and meaningful one for Frey who offers us a record consisting of covers rather than a new set of original pennings. His decision to record a collection of covers was a little baffling the first time we read of his intentions given his acclaimed songwriting abilities but rather than adding new notches to his impressive repertoire belt he has chosen to select a track-listing which combines songs dating back to the 1940’s through to more modern recordings, as a tribute of sorts to his parents and the songs Frey grew up listening to which inspired the musicians own early beginnings. Frey has carefully selected some of the finest from the Great American Songbook and combined them all within this meaty 14 track collection.
As our imagination takes us to the setting of a smokey late night Jazz bar we are delivered with what could easily be the soundtrack to just that kind of a place as a gently played piano ushers us into After Hours and unravels the gorgeous classic, For Sentimental Reasons. Frey’s vocals swing casually around a touching backdrop of piano and strings to produce a rich and moving album opener.
Early balladry continues to hold the spotlight with the further piano dominated numbers, My Buddy and The Good Life, both holding their ground in the early half of the collection but it isn’t long before Frey’s much loved up-tempo tones erupt on After Hours and what a better track to have chosen to begin proceedings than the classic, Routte 66. The track fits Frey’s Rock’n’Roll coated vocals perfectly as he struts confidently around a quick delivered rhythm and blues standard.
The Shadow Of Your Smile is a swaying addition nearing the centre of the record with a well placed saxophone solo lifting the track from its mid tempo foundations while further down the track-listing we are delivered with a Frey-rendition of Brian Wilson’s Carolina, No and with its stirring rhythm and haunting melody the track stands out as one of the most memorable inclusions on After Hours.
The first thing we notice about Frey on the new record is his vocals. Strong and passionate they tell each musical story with genuine conviction and ring out flawlessly throughout the entire 14 tracks that dance around each other and create this new addition to an already genius body of work. You can certainly hear that the musician is trying hard to deliver each with pitch perfect precision and although there are moments where that ambitious attitude is given too much limelight, 9 times out of 10 Frey hits the nail right on the head.
Upon hearing the new record I couldn’t help but think of the George Michael release Songs From The Last Century which was delivered in a similar style of what Frey has pieced together, all having that inviting and welcoming, casual Jazz feel to them. Many industry greats, at some point in their careers, tend to take on the responsibility and honor of reinterpreting some of music’s most distinguished and acclaimed pennings and not all prove to be successful in doing so but that can’t be said about Frey’s efforts at dusting off some iconic records and pulling them into the spotlight once again.
From the album opener right through to tracks like The Look Of Love and the exquisite and precise delivery of Same Girl we are presented with a confident and engaging record that welcomes Frey back into successful solo waters once again and although we still find ourselves holding out patiently for a record of originals we are very excited about this latest Frey project.
::: RenownedForSound.com’s Editor and Founder –
Interviewing and reviewing the best in new music and globally recognized artists is his passion.
Over the years he has been lucky enough to review thousands of music releases and concerts and interview artists ranging from top selling superstars like 27-time Grammy Award winner Alison Krauss, Boyz II Men, Roxette, Cyndi Lauper, Lisa Loeb and iconic Eagles front man/songwriter, Glenn Frey through to more recent successes including Newton Faulkner, Janelle Monae and Caro Emerald.
Brendon manages and coordinates the amazing team of writers on RenownedForSound.com who are based in the UK, the U.S and Australia.