JUSTIN HAYWARD – Spirits Of The Western Sky (2013)
JUSTIN HAYWARD, singer, guitarist and songwriter with the legendary Moody Blues will be releasing next week his long-awaited new solo album, “Spirits Of The Western Sky”.
This is Hayward’s first solo album since 1996, and along with his trademark crystal-clear voice and exemplary musicianship, this recording sees Justin veering off into different musical territories.
While Hayward is best known for The Moody Blues, he is one of the most prolific singer-songwriters in the music business, not afraid to contribute to diverse genres and artists.
His solo work – as this “Spirits Of The Western Sky” – showcases his creativity in ways that the Moody’s would never approach, yet basically this new recording is pure, uplifting Classic Rock.
The uptempo opening cut “In Your Blue Eyes” shows that this mature vocalist hasn’t lost any of his pipes – and as usual his lyrics have a deep trascendence, each telling a good story not exempt of juicy thoughts and point of views about life.
The midtempo “One Day, Someday” visits the dark places of lost love (also see “Lazy Afternoon” and the country-tinged “It’s Cold Outside of Your Heart”), with the narrator wanting to smoke pot and listen to music to escape his pain. But the ultimate calmative aren’t these drugs; it’s the dream of being with the lover whom he knows will return to him.
The dream can save, as it does in the quite dramatic yet sweet musically “The Western Sky” and in “In the Beginning”, in which the narrator dreams of finding the right words to say to win back a lost love.
One of my favorites tracks is the uptempo American rocker “On the Road to Love”, co-written with Kenny Loggins who plays and sings on the track with Justin.
There’s relaxed tunes in the acoustic “The Eastern Sky” (which has probably the most poetic lyrics on the record), the bouncy “On the Road to Love” (with its Eastern-influenced lyrics and cool harmonies) and the atmospheric “Captivated By You”.
We have a different approach in the triad “What You Resist Persists”, “Broken Dream” and the aforementioned “It’s Cold Outside Of Your Heart”, all recorded in Nashville with bluegrass musicians (the rest of the disc was done in Italy). The music is not totally authentic bluegrass, as Justin spins it all in his own style.
There’s a bizarre remake of Moody’s classic ‘I Know Your Out There Somewhere’ re-entitled “Out There Somewhere” remixed in the ‘Ibiza way’ (surely a requirement by the recording label) which I don’t like at all and it’s absolutely out of place in this disc, but this misstep does not tarnish the quality of the album.
Moody Blues and Classic Rock fans will love this album as it is yet another from the heart, honest release from one of the most special songwriters in the world.
This music challenges you to slow down through its beautiful melodies, while the poetic lyrics invite you to meditate, and think about your place in the universe and – more importantly – the universe’s place in you.
01. In Your Blue Eyes
02. One Day, Someday
03. The Western Sky
04. The Eastern Sun
05. On The Road To Love [feat. Kenny Loggins]
06. Lazy Afternoon
07. In The Beginning
08. It’s Cold Outside Of Your Heart
09. What You Resist Persists
10. Broken Dream
11. Captivated By You
12. One Day, Someday (Alternative Extended Version)
14. Out There Somewhere
15. Out There Somewhere (Raul Rincon Remix)