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KELLY KEAGY
TIME PASSES

Frontiers Records FRCD 063
Produced by: Kelly Keagy

Released: APRIL 23 / Website
Closest Relative: Night Ranger, Survivor
GENRE: Hard Rock
OVERALL: 97%

  1. Anything Goes
  2. Acid Rain
  3. Time Passes
  4. Before Anyone Knows
  5. Too Much To Ask
  6. Bottled up
  7. Too Close To The Sun
  8. Wrong Again
  9. Where There's A Woman
  10. The Journey
  11. The Moon
  12. I'm Still Here*

Kelly Keagy's career spans 20 years now, from his first recording with Night Ranger on their breakthrough debut release Dawn Patrol, to his more recent outings with King Of Hearts, to his solo guest spots on Jim Peterik's World Stage and the Hollywood Underground record.
This though, is his first full solo album, giving him for the first time, a whole album of lead vocals and total artistic control.
But he's a drummer! You don't give drummers total control of anything!!?
Kelly, however, is no ordinary drummer. He's a lead vocalist who has been singing lead since that first Night ranger record, he's also a part time guitarist and one of the melodic rock world's finest song writers.
On Time Passes, Kelly gets to let his full array of talents shine in the fitting manner they deserve.
He has written or co-written every track but one, sings lead on all but one (where he shares with Gary Moon) and absolutely spanks the drums as expected throughout!
Time Passes is a record for every Night Ranger fan. Having purchased any album from Seven to Big Life, this album demands buying.
But this record will have a wider appeal than just the Night Ranger fans out there. Much wider.
With the likes of Bruce Gaitsch, Jim Peterik, Kevin Chalfant and Todd Meagher co-writing, plus Gary Moon and newcomer Joe Vana providing backing vocals, the sound of this album is a far more universal hard rock record then just a Night Ranger off shoot.
Track by track will give you a better idea of what is in store.
The album opens with the thoroughly rocking Anything Goes, a track previewed on the last Union Compilation Vol. 3 and live at last year's Gods.
It's an uptempo stadium rocker in the true American sense. Production is immaculate and the guitar sound is somewhat more in your face than you might expect.
Acid Rain follows quickly on, continuing the hard edged guitar assault in a more contemporary modern hard rock style. The darker and heavy guitar style added to a more aggressive vocal from Kelly mean this track could find itself at home on US radio. The tougher vocal and guitar shredding is a highlight.
One of the first tracks written specifically for this solo album was Time Passes.
It has evolved from it's original demo form and I am pleased to say that the form it takes on this album is it's best yet.
This is classic Kelly Keagy / Night Ranger in medium tempo stadium anthem territory. The track has an awesome intro highlighting Kelly's vocal over a soft electric guitar right through the first verse until the chorus kicks in. And what a chorus - a somewhat laid back, but harmony filled, pure AOR anthem, with a killer drum sound. This reminds me of later day Night Ranger.
Before Anyone Knows is another great commercial hard rocker. This is another stadium pleaser, with cranked guitars, some spanking drumming (complete with the odd min-solo) and more great vocals from Kelly.
Trust me - this one will be huge on the freeway and reminds me of early Night Ranger. The last 90 seconds of the song is all over the place - squealing guitars and crashing drums - Kelly refers to it as the 'Train Wreck' portion of the album. Love it!
Too Much To Ask is a track co-written with the great Jim Peterik and is the album's first big ballad. It's a very 80's style commercial ballad, in the best sense of the genre and sees the outside writing influence conjure up the best all these guys can offer. The intro again reminds me of a big Night Ranger power ballad, before the chorus deviates.
Bottled Up is another track that made up the original set of demo's for this album. This was co-written by Kelly with Bruce Gaitsch.
This is one seriously rocking song and one seriously screwed up set of lyrics. There is enough angst in this track alone, to keep a room fool of psychiatrists busy for a week. The musical aspect of the song is interesting. It's modern, it's very aggressive and it's in your face, but it's more the toned down approach and the delivery of the vocal that gives it it's dark feel. The chorus reaches a new high and features a very strong vocal. Also interesting is the songs use of keyboards and acoustic guitar. It's a very cool and intelligent track.
Too Close To The Sun slows things down just a little, with another mid-tempo track co-written with Jim Peterik that starts slowly with some Night Ranger-ish guitar and heads into a moody mid-tempo guitar rocker. I love the moody and slow intro, it really helps the song build atmosphere.
Wrong Again is a killer uptempo rock anthem. Written around the time of the Feeding Off The Mojo album, the track was deemed unsuitable for that album and has been finally completed for this album. Gary Moon and Brad Gillis feature on the song, with the Moonman and Kelly sharing the lead vocal in brilliant tandem. The song is definitely in the Feeding Off The Mojo vibe.
Where There's A Woman is the only song that Kelly didn't write or have a hand in writing. It's a Jim Peterik song that Kelly loved so much he wanted to include it in the album. The song rocks, but is primarily a ballad with a great sentimental edge to it. As expected from the master song writer, the song is all class and has touches of Survivor and World Stage with the obligatory bridge-to-chorus refrain. It's basically Jim Peterik all over and Kelly sings it perfectly.
The Journey is another Peterik / Keagy composition and is the AOR anthem highlight of the album. This pure Survivor rock track is another freeway anthem and is one of my favorite tracks from any artist in recent times. This is a classy song and I love the lead vocal and the extra harmony and backing vocals through the chorus. It adds another dimension to the album and to Kelly's resume.
Rounding out the album is the very sentimental closer The Moon. The lyrics are hauntingly personal and poignant.
The song itself is sparse - just a soft lead vocal over an acoustic guitar and bass/synth backing with the occasional electric guitar riff mixed through.
What has been added since the original demo is a perfectly placed 'orchestral' break. Superb song and another album highlight.

I'm Still Here is the Japanese bonus track that in all honesty should have made the general release of the album. This uptempo sentimental rocker is a very commercial, very Night Ranger stadium anthem in every sense of the word and sees Kelly in fine form. Recommended to checkout somewhere if not from the Japanese version of the album.
BOTTOM LINE: This solo album is everything I thought and hoped it could be. It shows all sides of Kelly's personality, both on a familiar path from his work with Night Ranger, but also with some new styles and examples of a singer and songwriter always growing.
A must buy for all Night Ranger fans, plus a necessary album for all melodic stadium rock fans and commercial American hard rock fans. A killer album that will be up there with the best of the year.
PRODUCTION: 95% SONGS: 98% VIBE: 98%ATTITUDE: 97%
ESSENTIAL FOR: Every Night Ranger fan, all fans of American commercial stadium hard rock.
DISCOGRAPHY:Night Ranger, King Of Hearts, World Stage, Hollywood Underground; Solo - Time Passes



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