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Joe Perry – Joe Perry

By Zane Ewton

Taking a break from his duties in Aerosmith, Joe Perry is releasing his first solo album since 1984’s “Once a Rocker, Always a Rocker”.  When Perry split from Aerosmith in the early 80’s he released three albums under the Joe Perry Project banner.
Still in the depths of a drug problem, Perry employed a band with a different vocalist on each record.  This new eponymous album is just Joe Perry, recorded in his basement by himself, the way a solo record should be done.
Joe Perry completely lacks the glossy sheen that has accompanied the last few Aerosmith albums.  While some of the songs could have been obvious Aerosmith tracks, others come across as a firm step away from that signature sound.  But the one constant throughout is Perry’s guitar and fans of his work will find much to be pleased with on this record.   His vocal style compliments the songs well and is one of the records many highlights.
Perry brings out some full-size riffs on the first two tracks, “Shakin’ My Cage” and “Hold on Me”, then experiments with a Middle Eastern flair on “Pray for Me”.  The album glides between the greasy leads he is known for and the experimental interludes that are scattered throughout.  The latter includes the track “Crystal Ship”, which might be a turnoff for fans of arena rock but pleases nonetheless.  Only one obvious ballad, “Ten Years”, is a highlight towards the albums end.  
The album remains consistent through the end, including the two instrumental tracks, “Twilight” and “Mercy”.  It is hard to not think of what Aerosmith could have done with these songs, and if these are in fact some of the songs that they did not want to pursue then they may be going down the wrong direction.  This is especially true after the forgettable Just Push Play.  The few missteps can be forgiven considering how many highlights this album has.  Fans will be in hog heaven and Perry branches out enough to even grab a few new fans.
It is too bad that this is just a footnote before Perry goes back to his day job.  He sounds excited to be making music on this album.  The freedom to play whatever he wants on each instrument probably had a lot to do with that.  But good things can happen when a legendary guitarist gets excited about music again, and this record is one of them.

CD Info 

Joe Perry – Joe Perry
Label: Sony Music
Release Date: May 03, 2005
Shakin' My Cage
Hold On Me
Pray For Me
Can't Compare
Crystal Ship
Talk Talkin'
Push Comes To Shove
Ten Years
Vigilante Man
Dying To Be Free
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