JOHN SCHLITT (Petra) – Go (2019)
Petra, Head East et all vocalist JOHN SCHLITT is releasing his first solo album of original material in seven years, titled “Go”. According to Schlitt, ‘Go’ is a declaration of movement. Sometimes movement is a forward motion – and sometimes movement takes a momentary pause as you wait for direction. In either case, “go” does not mean to sit still in our comfort zone and do nothing. And when the time comes to go – then Schlitt decided he needed to “Go” and record a new solo album mixing rockers with some intimate tunes.
So great is the voice of Christian rock legend John Schlitt that he could sing a manual on how to recycle used toilet paper and make it sound good. When GospelMusicChannel.com named him the best Rock singer in music history, they exhibited the sagacity of Solomon.
He cut his musical teeth with the mainstream AOR / progressive band Head East but succumbed to the devils of drug and alcohol addiction before devoting himself to Christ.
Born again in spirit but still burning with the need to rock and roll, Schlitt soon found himself fronting the band Petra who, with Schlitt as their singer, became the biggest name in Christian hard rock during the late ‘80s /early ‘90s.
Between Petra projects, Schlitt released two solo albums: Shake in ‘95, which resembled the melodic, arena-rock style of Petra and was well-received, and Unfit For Swine in ‘96, a darker, edgier effort that many fans thought was aptly titled.
Following Petra’s disbandment in 2005, Schlitt released another solo effort, 2008’s The Grafting, which was fairly mellow, leading fans to wonder if the man whose voice had once commanded the Christian rock scene still knew how to rock it up.
That was confirmed with 2012’s The Greater Cause, a pretty rocking affair, but while he recorded a Xmas album in 2013, since then John only released a few singles.
Well, consider that question answered with an emphatic ‘heck, yeah!’, “Go” is most definitely a rock album, as if Schlitt wanted to satisfy his fans, silence his critics, and have a spirited—or would that be Holy Spirited?—good time doing so.
The album sports that classic John Schlitt feel, the kind of not-too-hard-not-too-soft-rock the man has been serving up for three decades and while the sound is too retro to win him any new fans, the ones already in his camp should be plenty pleased.
Time’s inexorable crawl has been kind to Schlitt; his voice shows little sign of wear. Maybe he doesn’t wail as high as he once did, but the soulful grit and attitude is still there.
The production caters to this strength, the engineering warm and organic and rightfully focused on Schlitt’s vocals. Same goes for the musicians hired to bring this album to life; all are competent and skilled, but they understand they are playing second fiddle to the star of the show.
This album belongs to John Schlitt and whether it’s an unqualified success or a crash and burn debacle rests solely on his shoulders.
We find here hard rockers, melodious rockers, some acoustically based tunes (still rocking), and a ballad.
“Go! is a good, solid “comeback” from Schlitt. No, it doesn’t top his glory days with Petra, but did anyone actually expect it to? That would be like visiting the zoo and expecting to see a Wooly Mammoth—ain’t gonna happen.
But this is definitely a strong Schlitt’s solo album, with fine songwriting and entertaining melodies all over.
01 – Go
02 – Feel It
03 – Takin’ It Higher
04 – Fighting the Fight
05 – Just Let Go
06 – Time Keeps Rollin’
07 – Where Would I Be
08 – Find A Way
09 – Fake News
10 – Let’s Go
11 – Not Dead Yet
Vocals: John Schlitt
Guitars: Scott Bernard, Paul Brannon, Jerry McPherson
Keys, Programming, BGVs: John Lawry
Bass, Keyboards: Jacob Lowery
Drums, Percussion, BGVs: Dan Needham
Synths: Jeff Roach
Bass: Gary Lunn
Drums: Cristian Borneo