Renowned provider of vibrant rumble spreads his wings and, still anchored with a bottom end of things, takes off for a solo flight.
A stalwart of hard ‘n’ heavy scene for decades, Chuck Wright‘s credentials as a musician par excellence have long been established. One of the founders of GIUFFRIA and HOUSE OF LORDS, he also was a member of QUIET RIOT and HEAVEN & EARTH, but it’s as a concert and session sidekick for the likes of Alice Cooper and Ten Nugent that the veteran found the lasting fame and fortune. What Wright didn’t have on his résumé was a solo release – until now, this being the inaugural release of Chuck’s own project, with a catch. Given their background stance, bassists’ albums more often than not bring unexpectant delights, style-wise, yet whether numbers which were composed at various times, cowritten with various friends and performed with various guests will gel into a coherent whole depends on a particular player’s conceptual mindset.
Thankfully, Wright’s experience allowed him to take care of this aspect not only by bookending his under-own-name debut with instrumental “The Weight Of Silence” – where throbbing acoustic strum and Derek Sherinian’s otherworldly Mellotron, Moog and, on the piece’s reprise, Theremin help shape a dramatic atmosphere – but also by placing two surprise covers in the record’s context, Jesse Colin Young’s classic “Darkness Darkness” and “Army Of Me” from Björk’s repertoire, that sum up Chuck’s approach to his personal project. However, while the latter track’s pulsating psychedelia locates him drive Whitney Tai’s spectral voice through the grind of Pat Torpey’s drums and Lanny Cordola’s guitars to industrial delirium, and the former cut’s Celtic drone finds him direct folk orchestra and David Victor’s desperate vocals towards mesmeric catharsis, such originals as the countrified anthems “Cradle Of The Sun” and “The Other Side” or soul-caressing serenade “Giving Up The Ghost” see the master roll out romantic, if punchy, panoramas to uphold the platter’s title and finally spread his wings in full.
But then, there’s muscular funk of “Throwin’ Stones” on which Wright augments his usual four strings with ringing koto and has Joe Retta throw lyrics and harmonica licks around with a lot of gusto until Mitch Perry’s lines tie knots on the ensemble’s jive, and the earth-splitting, exotic balladry of “Time Waits For No One” that Chuck and Whitney infuse with widescreen emotions. These perfectly contrast contemporary hard-rock of “It Never Fails” on which Jeff Scott Soto’s melodious strut and Eric Martin’s scat vie for space in the titular sky, the scene for “Farewell Horizon” to unfold, over Jimmy Keegan’s thunder, its fusion-tinged, wordless wonder. Here’s the case of sky not being the limit for here’s a project begging for a further flight.