Album review: STEVE WALSH – Black Butterfly

STEVE WALSH - Black Butterfly

Escape Music [Release date 10.11.17]

After Steve Walsh retired from Kansas back in 2014 many thought that would be it and we’d hear no more from Walsh, luckily this was proven wrong and here we have a new solo album from him. Joining Walsh are Tommy Denander, who co-wrote the majority of the songs on here with Walsh, and FM’s Steve Overland adds backing vocals.

Another notable on the album is vocalist Jerome Mazza, who was once of Christian rockers Angelica (a band well worth tracking down). He takes lead vocals on three songs and duets with Steve Walsh on the storming opener ‘Born In Fire’. Vocally he is not that different from Steve Walsh at times and both vocalists complement each other well.

Mike Slamer introduced Steve Walsh to Escape Music and that Slamer sound/feel can be heard on ‘Grace And Nature’. ‘The Piper’ (recorded by Denander’s project Radioactive) is the closet to the progressive rock of Kansas, building nicely to a strong chorus. This song, along with all the others on here, features a sizzling guitar solo from Tommy Denander. Overall though the album sounds like a mix of Streets and Steve Walsh’s previous albums.

Interesting to hear modern, almost dance beats/effects added to a couple of songs notably ‘Warsaw’. Bit of social commentary on ‘Billy Carbone Dead’, showing how we focus on politicians/celebrity news and not on the more important issues that the media forgo in lieu of reporting what they think we want to read. Great keys on this one and a bizarre vocal passage midway through - grab your headphones for this one. One of the stand out songs on here and wouldn’t look out of place on Kansas’s excellent ‘In The Spirit Of Things’ album.

‘Nothing But Nothing’ adds a little pomp to the proceedings, none more so than on the harmony vocal overload on the song’s outro, wonderful on the ears!

‘Black Butterfly’ marks a triumphant return to the recording studio for Steve Walsh and even if he doesn’t want to tour again, we can enjoy the music on here. Hopefully there will be more music after this album as I can’t see any fans of Steve Walsh not enjoying this album. ****

Review by Jason Ritchie

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