Sometime during 1996, Jeff Scott Soto and Marcel Jacob were completely thrown for a loop when a best of album was released in Japan for their band Talisman. No one told them. The album was called “Besterious” and consisted of all songs that were previously released from the band. In response to this, Jeff and Marcel, along with Empire Records, decided they were going to release their own band approved version of a greatest hits compilation. It was called “Best of…” and it was chock full of hits plus a ton of previously unreleased tracks that any diehard fan would want to buy. I should know, I bought it!!
Two of the biggest treats were the first two tracks. These were both demos yet they had Goran Edman on vocals instead of Jeff Scott Soto. Goran was the singer for John Norum’s band and joined Talisman prior to Jeff. Goran left to join Yngwie’s band. The first of the demos is “Day By Day” and musically is no different than what ended up on the debut. It is a very Bon Jovi style song. Goran’s vocals are higher than Jeff’s but I’m not sure they have the power Jeff’s have. Regardless, it is still a stellar version of the song.
The second Goran demo is “Lightning Strike” seems a little more raw than the final Soto version, but all the elements are there. The chorus has some great harmonies and layers of vocals. Jeff sings it in this same style as Goran. I’m not sure which one I like better with this one. The rawness of this one adds a little to it.
1994 has been a real busy year for Jeff Scott Soto as you can see from all the 1994 reviews. His band Slam was pretty much done so all his time was now focused on Talisman. Marcel Jacob and Jeff Scott Soto would end up writing a ton of songs for the next studio album. Talisman was now a full band. They had Jamie Borger on drums and Fredrik Akesson on guitar and with them coming off the last tour, the band was tight and hitting on all cylinders.
The band recorded the album in Sound Trade Studios and when they finished, they had 22 songs in can which coincidentally only took 22 days to record and mix. They wanted to do a double album and each disc would have a separate theme. One would be songs with human characteristics and the second disc with animal characteristics. However, the songs actually would all fit on a single CD, so they decided they wanted to only release a single CD.
So, the band picked their favorite 14 songs for the album and it was released in Europe . It was to be released in Japan, but they wanted a different set of songs so the Japan label picked the songs for their version of the album. The albums came out on May 25, 1994. And then a funny thing happened. The European version was out selling the Japanese version…in Japan. Yes, the import of the European version was way more popular. As a result, they ended up releasing the European version in Japan. And if that wasn’t enough, they released a part 2 version with all the outtakes on October 19, 1994.
A couple months back, Needtobreathe sent out emails to their fans and told us some news about a new album, ‘Out of Body’. However, at the same time they discussed the heartbreaking news that Bo Rinehart, lead guitar and founding member, was leaving the band. This caused great pause to me as Bo is the creative mind behind the band. He did a lot of the art, the video concepts, he was a songwriter as well and a hell of a musician. He was one of the many reasons, I love this band. I now had worries about the new album and how the band was going to sound.
This only left 3 members of the band…
Bear Rinehart, lead singer, guitar
Josh Lovelace – hammond organ and piano
Seth Bolt – bass and drums (not at the same time)
I still ordered the album the day it went available for pre-order and I even ordered the Vinyl and CD bundle because why not. Artistically, the cover of the album was amazing, the color of the vinyl was stunning and everything about the concept was beautiful and some of the best the band has done. And you can see below, everything looks great…
American Authors is one of those bands I had heard about due to their hit “Best Day of My Life” from 2013, but I had never wanted to take a deeper dive. It is not because they weren’t any good band, it is just not my type of music. It is too pop and generic and nothing really interested me. Well, with the release of their third album, ‘Seasons’, that has now changed.
The reason for that change is simple, they have two songs on the album by a couple of my favorite singers right now, Billy Raffoul and Bear Rinehart (Needtobreathe). You see, those two put out a song…I will listen and American Authors only reap the benefits…or do they…we will have to see.
I don’t know much about the band, so I will get straight into the music. American Authors are really good at writing, happy type, uplifting songs and the opening track, “Stay Around”, is just that. It is an uptempo and fun song that sounds exactly like an Imagine Dragon song with that drum beat and the lyrical phrasing. Good song, but come on if you are going to copy any one why the hell would you copy Imagine Dragons?
The next song is one of the best on the album called “Say Amen”. It features new singer Billy Raffoul and is probably why I am biased about loving this song. It is a darker song for American Authors and I like this darker edge to the band. Bill’s Jeff Buckley style vocals work well with singer Zac Barnett who I think changes his vocals to be a little more in Billy’s style which is great because Billy’s vocals have a lot of texture and character.