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Album Review: Steve Lukather – Transition

TransitionOn his new album, “Transition” Steve Lukather paints a rich tapestry of sonic art and blends his brush (in this case, guitar) into a refreshing blend of blues, jazz, pop, rock and standard from his colorful musical palette.

Lukather is a five-time Grammy Winner and a personal guitar hero of mine. He’s worked with Eddie Van Halen, Slash, Zakk Wylde, Jeff Beck and Eric Clapton. He’s also co-led Toto through every twist and turn of the band’s platinum lined history and has played on albums by Michael Jackson, Warren Zevon, Aretha Franklin, Roger Waters, Cheap Trick and other rock and pop royalty.

In addition to preparing dates to support the new CD, Lukather is also set to embark on an Australian tour with Ringo Starr and his All-Star band as well as scheduling dates for a Toto 35th Anniversary Tour.

Lukather sees ‘Transition’ as a turning point for himself. “As we were writing the songs” he says, “I was thinking about everything I’ve seen: all the people I’ve lost in my life, the great and the difficult experiences I’ve had, and how ultimately it was time to get it together and embrace things for what they are, because we’ve only got one life to live and we’ve got to make the most of it. I’ve got a lot to be thankful for, and now is a perfect time for me to take stock of that, which is part of what ‘Transition’ is about.”

Written with long time friend and keyboardist CJ Vanston, “Transition” is an album that delves deep into the psyche of the human persona, with contributions from artists that run the full spectrum of music. Among them: Gregg Bissonette, Fee Waybill (The Tubes), Nathan East (Fourplay), Richard Page (Mister Mister), and Phil Collen (Def Leppard). Expect nothing less than Luke’s tasty guitar wizardy combined with strong vocals and thought-provoking lyrics.

Highlights for me:

“Judgement Day”, a song that emphasizes the tabloid world we live in:

We can read the lies you write for all the world to see. The reflection in the mirror shows it’s you, but you blame me.
— Judgement Day

“Right The Wrong”;  a haunting song (and my personal favorite) that also brings with it a message of hope. Because when you think about it, we really are the future and the past. We’ve got to make it last.

I’m tired of waiting for the world to end. We can’t let it disappear.
— Right The Wrong

“Do I Stand Alone” has a catchy country flair to it and a song that is radio ready.

Don’t Try To Take Away My Freedom
Don’t Try To Take Away My Voice
— Do I Stand Alone

The final track, “Smile” is Luke’s take on a Charlie Chaplin standard from 1936 and a song dedicated to his Mother. A fitting end and apropos title if you ask me, as it was something I found myself doing quite a bit of when the album was over.

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