David Hungate

Mon
28
Nov

MECCA - 3 (Showcase)

Artist: 
3
Produced By: 
Shannon Forrest
Running Time: 
34
Release Date: 
2016
Released: 
Worldwide
Genre: 
AOR
 
OUT NOW!! Regular Edition CD Now Shipping LIMITED EDITION FIRST PRESSING SOLD OUT
 
MelodicRock Records is proud and excited to announce a partnership with MECCA to release their monumental new album Mecca 3.
 
Records like this don't come along very often. At least not in 2016 they don't.
But this is one for the ages. Mecca will now find themselves sitting alongside genre classics from Toto, Mr. Mister, Survivor, Giant and Journey to name a few.
 
Recorded over the last 3 years in Nashville, this is a record that would have topped AOR charts back in the day. Make no mistake - this is a classic.
 
 


MECCA - "3" CD $20.99 Including Shipping Worldwide. Please note that all sales (via the Paypal link below) are going direct to USA and will be shipped by the artist.
 
 
 

MRR's Andrew McNeice: "Joe has been a friend of mine since 1996 and I've seen him develop into one of the most reliable and mature songwriters in this game. On Mecca III he takes everything that came before as a launching pad for what must come next and Mecca III delivers. This is a monster record that is layers deep in rich textures that remain fresh to my ears even after first receiving the original writers' demos some 3 years ago.

I'm so proud of my friend and I'm honoured to be given the chance to bring this exceptional album to the world. The instrumentation is nothing short of world class, the production is analogue all the way - you can hear it in every crisp, clear note. And the vocals are quite simply the most stunning and emotion filled tones that I have ever heard from Joe. I simply cannot wait to hear fan reactions to this album. It's a masterpiece."

 
Joe Vana is equally as excited to finally reveal his masterpiece to the world. "Mecca III, here we are! I wanted to take all I had learned from the amazing list of players involved in Mecca up to this point...from Shannon Forrest to Pat Mastelotto...David Hungate to Tony Levin...Mike Aquino to Christian Wolff and my son Joey...and the production I learned over many years working closely with Jim Peterik on his songs as well as Mecca 1.
But...I wanted even more...I wanted A TRUE Audiophile record...not a pro-tooled, over edited mess of 100 takes edited into one...and the groove less, lifeless carcass that playing to the grid creates, the ruination of vibe, groove and soul in music.
I hope everyone digs the record....it's 8 tracks because that's all I needed to tell the story I wanted to convey...lyrically the record flows...All are separate but continuous chapters...vocally the songs even feel different as I move through different phases of my life."
 
And what does Toto's Steve Lukather think about it? "Killer new music! Great songs! Great playing from everyone...and Joe's vocals are better than ever! Smooth, real and soulful. I love the 'surprise modulations' that are now his style which make this a great listen for fans of his and the entire genre of melodic rock music. Creative arrangements throughout and I love the synth/keyboard work. David Hungate is amazing as is Shannon Forrest on drums and production. Great sounds + killer guitars all over it! Can't say what is my fave yet cause I love all of it. Summing it up in 3 words...Well f-ing done!" Luke - 2016.
 
The album was produced by new Toto drummer Shannon Forrest (Tim McGraw, Michael McDonald, Kenny Rogers, Don Henley), Associate Produced by Joey Vana and Recorded at Off The Grid Studios, Nashville Tennessee.
 
Alongside drummer Shannon Forrest, featured on the album are some of Nashville's very finest musicians:
Tim Akers - B3 and Piano (Rascal Flatts, Amy Grant, Kid Rock, Alabama); Toto's legendary bass man David Hungate; plus David Browning (Katy Perry, Amy Grant, Hollywood Heroes).
 
MECCA III is:
Joe Vana - Lead Vocals
Shannon Forrest - Drums and Percussion
David Hungate - Bass
Tim Akers - B3 and Piano, Background Vocals and Duet on "Believe"
David Browning - Synths
Joey Vana - Guitars
Mark Baldwin - Guitar
 
With:
Sol Philcox-Littlefield - Additional Guitars
Ethan Forrest - Additional Guitars
Rudy Chmelik - Additional Percussion on "Believe"
Bill Syniar - Vibe
 
All Lyrics and Melodies written by: Joe Vana
Except Track 8: Akers, Vana; Track 7 - Richard Page
 

 

Categories: 
 
Wed
28
Sep

Mecca - "Take My Hand" (Album '3' Out October 14)

 
 
MelodicRock Records is proud and excited to announce a partnership with MECCA to release their monumental new album Mecca 3.
 
Records like this don’t come along very often. At least not in 2016 they don’t.
But this is one for the ages. Mecca will now find themselves sitting alongside genre classics from Toto, Mr. Mister, Survivor, Giant and Journey to name a few. 
 
Recorded over the last 3 years in Nashville, this is a record that would have topped AOR charts back in the day. Make no mistake – this is a classic. 
 
Featuring Toto's DAVID HUNGATE on his last rock record!
 
Featuring Toto drummer SHANNON FORREST who also produces.
 
All analogue production, just like the 80s.
Artist: 
 
Mon
12
Sep

Mecca - "Gone" (Album '3' Out October 14)

Records like this don’t come along very often. At least not in 2016 they don’t.
But this is one for the ages. MECCA will now find themselves sitting alongside genre classics from Toto, Mr. Mister, Survivor, Giant and Journey to name a few.
 
Recorded over the last 3 years in Nashville, this is a record that would have topped AOR charts back in the day. Make no mistake – this is a classic.
 
Featuring Toto's DAVID HUNGATE on his last rock record!
 
Featuring Toto drummer SHANNON FORREST who also produces.
 
All analogue production, just like the 80s.
Artist: 
 
Fri
06
Mar

DAVID HUNGATE Talks TOTO

Artist: 
 
David Hungate is the original bass player in Toto. He has a legendary amount of studio session credits that include Glen Campbell, Willie Nelson, Diana Ross, Shania Twain, Boz Scaggs, Neil Diamond, Barbra Streisand, Chet Atkins, Vince Gill, Joe Cocker among countless others.
 
David made a triumphant return to Toto last year after an over 3 decade hiatus. He also contributed to the long awaited Toto studio release Toto XIV. Hungate was kind enough to lend Reggie Boyle some of his time to talk about his return to Toto and many other subjects.
 
Categories: 
 
Fri
20
Feb

TOTO - XIV (Review)

information persons: 
content: 
100%

 

section name: 
TRACK LISTING
content: 
Running Out of Time
Burn
Holy War
21st Century Blues
Orphan
Unknown Soldier (for Jeffrey)
The Little Things
Chinatown
All The Tears That Shine
Fortune
Great Expectations
Produced By: 
CJ Vanston & Toto
Running Time: 
59
Release Date: 
March 23
Released: 
Worldwide
Musical Style: 
Melodic Rock
Score: 
100
Label: 
Frontiers
Artist: 
 
If Falling In Between and Hydra got it on with The Seventh One and Fahrenheit at a club called Tambu, then the kid would called Toto XIV.
In a word: brilliant.
In several: Toto XIV is a complete change of pace from Falling In Between, but is far more representative of the Toto legacy.
In fact, if someone asked me what Toto sounded like, previously I'd be hard pressed to think of which album best represented who they are as a band. It always depends on my mood. Not anymore.
Toto XIV is a virtual greatest hits record, covering every facet of the band's classic sound, with a fresh contemporary production that's bigger than Ben Hur's big bits.
 
Toto XIV is a different beast compared to the band’s last album, Falling In Between, released some 9 years back now. There’s been a fair list of events to document in that space though. There has been the break up with vocalist Bobby Kimball; a live reunion to support Mike Porcaro (sadly suffering with ALS); the return of Steve Porcaro and David Paich to touring; the return of famed vocalist Joseph Williams (of Fahrenheit and The Seventh One fame); the departure of drummer Simon Phillips - with Steely Dan drummer Keith Carlock joining for the recording of this album (but now replaced by Shannon Forrest for the tour); a lengthy (now settled) lawsuit and not least of all, the return of original bassist David Hungate for the tour and also several tracks on this album.
 
I wasn't sold on XIV straight away like I was Falling In Between. But that goes to my previous point about the complexities revealing themselves over time and also the fact that while FiB was a true rock record, XIV is more laid back and inclusive of the band’s true historic sound.
This is a Westcoast/AOR record with moments of rock angst, much like the two Joseph Williams fronted albums.
It appears simpler on the surface, but the truth is it has a ton of layers, subtle and sublime arrangements and an underlying intensity.
Produced by CJ Vanston and the band, this record is the sonic equivalent of Gone With The Wind.
 
The word “subtle” gets used a lot in describing the songs here. The songs work far better as an entire listening experience. This flows beautifully as an album start to finish. So with that in mind, let’s go track by track:
 
Running Out Of Time is the lead track and our first taste of Joseph Williams back fronting the band. It’s a pulsating track that leads off with a definitive Luke riff similar to that of the opening to Falling In Between. But it’s a lot smoother and considered than FiB.
The bass of Tim Lefevbre (his only appearance on the album) thumps, but its Joseph that’s well in control. He sounds a million dollars and just sounds so comfortable alongside the unmistakable Toto sound in play.
The verse rolls along in quick time before a sonic blast of a chorus tears the song up.
Joe hits some notes not heard on a Toto record since The Seventh One while Luke’s guitar solo is measured and blended with some fine Paich keyboards, bookended by the song’s bombastic chorus.
Drumming legend Keith Carlock gives the sound an added complexity that continues throughout the album.
 
Burn is really quite extraordinary. It’s a song with two distinct aspects. A haunting verse and one of the biggest, most bombastic choruses Toto has ever composed.
Opening with an instantly memorable Paich piano hook and building slowly with a subtle drum fill and added keyboards, Joseph’s lead vocal is electrifying and simply devours the song once the chorus literally explodes. The bass line (courtesy of Lee Sklar) and Keith’s drumming delivers a rhythm section music aficionados will be in raptures over.
Just when the song couldn’t get any better, in comes some massive layered vocals only Toto can deliver. It reminds me of the mood of I Will Remember from Tambu.
The last minute of the song offers so much intense musical interplay that I found myself still discovering new parts a dozen listens in. Paich and Steve Porcaro’s piano layering in particular.
Lenny Castro as always adds percussion that simple cannot be described.
 
Holy War is, if anything, a defining Toto song. It just sums up this band and for me, sums up everything that I love in music. What appears to be a fairly simple melodic rock song is so much more once you dig beneath the ridiculously catchy chorus (where Joe shares lead with Luke) and the smooth melodic verse. Joseph’s vocals appear so simple, but listen to the execution of the softer vocal lines - such finesse cannot be taught.
The lyrics bite deeper than usual for Toto, talking religious hypocrisy and pleading for peace.
Luke’s guitar solo is classic Toto, classic Luke.
 
21st Century Blues is the first of several left turns in the album, with a distinctly Luke solo flavored track here, a bluesy mid-tempo swaggering song that could easily have fitting amongst his last couple of solo albums. David Hungate is playing bass on this track, the song is further Toto-ized with Carlock’s drumming mirroring that of the great Jeff Porcaro and Joseph Williams adds some fine harmony vocals.
The 6 minute track reaches its peak at the 5 minute mark, after which comes a flurry of piano and guitar dueling, which really makes the song.
 
Orphan is Joseph at his very best. Another extraordinary track, this song is a feel good rocker from the start. You just know something special is coming and the song deliverers, bursting to life with an energetic, melodic verse and a pomp-tastic blast for the chorus.
Once again, the song appears simplistic, but once you get further involved, you can see just how complex it is and the drumming is really exceptional. Luke again attends to bass duties.
My only wish is that the concluding part of the song featuring Luke’s lead guitar solo went for longer before fading out.
 
Luke is back on lead vocals (plus acoustic and electric guitar and bass) for the slow to mid-tempo epic Unknown Soldier. The moody, atmospheric five minute track has layers of instrumentation and percussion and a short, but decisive chorus, but the real joy of the track is the intense musical backdrop, which shows the genius of the talent in this band. The percussion and drumming in particular is another mind blowing display.
Luke’s constant touring in recent years has really fired up his voice. His vocals on this album are quite honestly the best I have ever heard from him.
 
It’s time for a break in the intensity of the album. And it’s time for Steve Porcaro to make his lead vocal debut on The Little Things. Steve isn’t that far from Joseph Williams’ tone and sounds great on this laid back, acoustic driven Westcoast melodic pop song. A simple song it seems, but the background layering of acoustic guitars and percussion take repeated listens to dissect. Hungate again appears on bass to give it that authentic Toto rhythm.
 
Chinatown is another song that only Toto could ever write. Or get away with! The song almost defies description, but I’ll try.
Leading off with a piano intro and a Paich vocal, there is a very quick back and forth with Paich and Williams trading lead vocal lines, but when Joe’s in control, he is accompanied by a bombastic burst of instrumentation, energy rivaling that of Burn from earlier in the album.
Then Luke buts in with his lead vocal delivered over a smooth jazzy passage of music that leads to the equally smooth jazzy chorus. Only Toto can do three lead vocals within the first minute! The subtle guitar/piano work is quite unbelievable as is the drums/percussion. So the song is jazzy, Westcoast pop song with a rock hook and a bluesy bass riff from David Hungate. Don’t forget the horns and saxophone. Genius!
 
It’s time for a sentimental ballad. While the second half of the album may appear softer than the first, this is the first real ballad. All The Tears features David Paich on lead vocal and some more outstanding piano work, with Luke taking over for the smooth, instantly likeable chorus hook, Joseph in the background on harmonies. The song has a really appealing chorus, a beautiful track all in all. Tal Wilkenfeld guests on bass on this and the following track.
 
Continuing a mid-tempo pace, Joseph Williams returns to lead vocal duties for the very smooth rock track Fortune. Another track that grows on repeat listens and features a distinctive Lukather guitar presence, not to mention plenty of Toto-esque special effects and percussion fills. Luke’s guitar tone is pure classic Toto. The closing minute or so of the album features another round of piano/guitar dueling that typifies the adventurous nature of these great musicians.
 
The regular album closes with what has to be another milestone song for Toto. This is just impossibly good. Mixing the history of the band into one track and reminiscent of the crazy good Dying On My Feet from Falling In Between, Great Expectations is a wild and crazy seven minute track. Starting very low key with some orchestration, piano and Paich’s vocal, the song quickly accelerates, moving from 5 to 95 within seconds, with a dashing slice of frantic keyboards and some thumping bass from Lukather. Joseph Williams then takes over vocals as the song goes from strength to strength, ramping up the pomp with every twist.
Piano joins in for a higher pitch, anthemic chorus before turning back to how it all started. At the 3 minute mark the rule book is thrown overboard and it’s a musical free for all. The song winds through a restrained guitar solo, some atmospheric arrangements, an ethereal medieval styled guitar riff before turning complexly insane, featuring a truly progressive section of classic Toto IV harmonics, keyboards, piano, percussion, guitar and then bang….back to one final epic chorus. Breathtakingly good and the perfect way to close out any album.
 
For Japan there is the added bonus of another Steve Porcaro song – Bend. What's more - it's all Steve on this track - he plays all instruments. The song features another quiet vocal, over a new-age styled simple arrangement. The song lasts just under 3 minutes and isn’t essential, but at the same time, is a beautiful, sentimental song featuring some classy acoustic guitar work from the "other" Steve.
 

Toto’s complex history is replicated in their music. No one does it like Toto does.
The long wait between records was entirely worth it. Toto deliver another all-time classic with Toto XIV - a record that hides it’s complexity within some apparently simple songs whose layers are pealed back with every subsequent listen until your mind is filled with layers and layers of instrumentation and orchestration. Sometimes you feel as if you are listening to an entirely different song by paying attention to the different aspects within them.
 
Categories: 
 
Fri
01
Aug

STEVE LUKATHER Talks Up TOTO Live & Upcoming Album

Artist: 
TOTO guitarist Steve Lukather has given a couple of interviews in recent days, discussing new TOTO shows and the upcoming record due in early 2015.
 
In one for Sound & Vision (www.soundandvision.com/content/steve-lukather-sq-and-second-coming-toto), Luke gives  atantaising update: 
 
Lukather: "The record we're making is real hi-fi. It has that big, obnoxious production that people who love our music are really going to love: big harmonies, big synths, big guitars, big grooves, great virtuouso musicianship, and classic Toto melodies. Everybody sings on the record. It's very fresh-sounding."
 
And for Something Else Reviews (somethingelsereviews.com/2014/07/31/it-invigorates-the-whole-band-steve-lukather-praises-joseph-williams-ahead-of-big-u-s-tour/), Luke priases the vocal efforts of vocalist Joseph Williams.
 
Toto's US tour kicks off tomorrow night in Grand Ronde, OR and continues through September 7. Full dates at: www.totoofficial.com/events
 
This leg of the tour features drummer Shannon Forrest and orignal Toto bassist David Hungate (both of whom will appear live with Mecca at MelodicRockFest 4 in October (www.melodicrockfest.com)

 

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