The artist spotlight is on one of my favorite rock vocalists, Jeff Scott Soto. I came across his music thanks to a great website by Andrew McNiece – Melodicrock.com (go check it out). If you haven’t heard of Jeff, let me tell you a little about him.
Jeff has only been in a few bands – Yngwie Malemsteen’s Rising Force, Talisman, W.E.T., SOTO, Soul Sirkus, Redlist, Eyes, Journey (yes, that Journey), Trans-Siberian Orchestra, Takara, Axel Rudi Pell and I believe there are several others so yeah…only a few.
He also has made appearances on so many other albums (too numerous to list). Most recently he was on Joel Hoekstra’s 13 album “Dying to Live” which I thought was a great album. He was even in the fictional band Steel Dragon from the movie “Rock Star” with Mark Wahlberg. And lastly, he has had a great solo career.
I mentioned he was in Journey above. In 2006, Journey let their lead singer go, Steve Augeri, and picked up Jeff to finish the tour. Jeff had worked withNeal Schon in the group Sould Sirkus which I will talk more about later. I was so excited with that announcement as after hearing his version of “Send Her My Love”, I knew he had the chops for it. Sadly, it didn’t last. After the tour they let him go and went with a different singer.
Because he has been involved in so much, I am just going to go through what I find to be his best stuff. So here goes…
Talisman’s first album came out in 1990, however, it was the early 2000’s before I heard any of their stuff. I am saddened I hadn’t heard of them until then. The band is definitely a rock band and they hailed from Sweden (although Jeff is from the US). If it wasn’t for grunge, they might have caught on here in the states as I feel some of their stuff was just that good.
What I like about their sound, other than the obvious vocals of Jeff Scott Soto, was that the sound of the band highlighted the bass which isn’t that common. The bass player (and founding member) was Marcel Jacobs. He died in 2009. The band has not put out any new material since 2006’s album “7”.
Talisman – 1990 – (A Sun Hill Production AB)
Genesis – 1993 – (A Sun Hill Production AB)
Humanimal – 1994- (A Sun Hill Production AB) *Essential
Life – 1995 – (A Sun Hill Production AB)
Truth – 1998 – (A Sun Hill Production AB)
Cats & Dogs – 2003 – (Frontier Records) *Essential
7 – 2006 – (Frontier Records) *Essential
“Humanimal” – Humanimal
“Fabricated War” – Humanimal
“Outta My Way” – Cats & Dogs
“Wherever, Whenever, Whatever” – Cats & Dogs
“Delusions of Grandeur” – Humanimal
“D.O.A.P.S.” – Humanimal
“Time After Time” – Genesis
“Soul 2 Soul” – Life
“Break Your Chains” – Talisman
“Let Me Entertain You” (Queen Cover) – Truth
“Here 2day, Gone 2day” – Truth
“Frozen” (Madonna cover) – Truth
“Nowhere Fast” – 7
“Falling” – 7
“The 1 I’m Living 4” – 7
Here is one of the few videos out there of Talisman
W.E.T. is hard rock band with members from 3 other bands, Work of Art (Robert Sall), Eclipse (Erik Martensson) and Talisman (Jeff Scott Soto). I guess you could say they are a supergroup. In my opinion they are as I am a fan of all 3 bands.
They have released 2 studio albums and 1 Live album so far and this is some of Jeff’s best work. I am not going to list which ones are essential, as they all are.
W.E.T. – 2009 – (Frontier Records)
Rise Up – 2003 – (Frontier Records)
One Live in Stockholm – 2014 – (Frontier Records)
“One Love” – W.E.T.
“Brothers In Arm” – W.E.T.
“Comes Down Like Rain” – W.E.T.
“Love Heals” – Rise Up
“Learn To Live Again – Rise Up
“Walk Away” – Rise Up
Jeff’s solo career has been long and varied. He has released 5 studio albums over the last 20+ years with a few live albums as well as a collection of his ballads thrown in. With his work in so many other bands, it is amazing he has time for the solo albums.
What I like about Jeff’s solo work is that it goes from hard rock, to slower rock songs to even songs with some funk. He isn’t afraid to change it up a little. It is a real shame that he doesn’t get the recognition he deserves here in the states. I believe a lot of people have missed out on some great music.
Love Parade – 1994 – (Frontier Records)
Prism – 2002 – (Frontier Records)
Lost in the Translation – 2004- (Frontier Records) *Essential
Beautiful Mess – 2009 – (Frontier Records)
Damage Control – 2012- (Frontier Records) *Essential
Essential Ballads – 2006- (Frontier Records) *Essential (of course it is – it says it in the title of the album)
“Believe In Me” – Lost in the Translation
“Soul Divine” – Lost in the Translation
“Find Our way – Lost in the Translation
“Send Her My Love” (Journey Cover) – Essential Ballads
“Sacred Eyes” – Essential Ballads
“Friend” – Love Parade
“Heaven Knows” – Prism
“Hey” – Beautiful Mess
“Give A Little More” – Damage Control
“Look Inside Your Heart” – Damage Control
Jeff has been in so many other bands that I still haven’t listened to all of them. So, here are my favorites from his other bands.
Redlist was a band that Jeff worked with in the early 2000’s that was trying to sound a lot like the Nu-Metal music that was out during that time. The songs had a metal sound with a little rap thrown in for good measure. They didn’t actually release their self-titled album until 2007.
Soul Sirkus was a straight up rock band including Neal Schon on guitar, Marco Mendoza on bass, and Virgil Donati on drums…some serious musicians. There album “World Play” came out in 2005 and was the reason Jeff Scott Soto was invited to join Journey when they replaced their singer.
“My Love, My Friend”
SOTO is Jeff’s latest band. This band is a lot heavier than his more recent work. They have two albums – ”Inside the Veritgo” in 2015 and the newly released titled “Divak” in 2016 (which I am still digesting and getting to know – but so far so good).
“The Fall” – Inside the Vertigo
“Break” – Inside the Vertigo
“Weight of the World” – Divak
“Freakshow” – Divak
Okay, I think that pretty much covers what I know and what I like from Jeff Scott Soto. He is an underrated talent in my books and I look forward to more and more music from him in the future.
Please take some time and give him a listen and you won’t be disappointed. Also, check out his Facebook and Twitter accounts. Let me know if you do try him out and what you think. I hope you enjoy it.
(Featured Image – by Jssfunk (own work))