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Neal Schon - I On U

By Linda Spielman

Music legends are born not made. They are in a league all their own, and no matter what they touch it always seems to turn into gold. Even if the artist isn't performing in their original element, their style and musical expression shines through whatever project they are a part of at the time. Neal Schon is all of the above, plus so much more. "I On U" is just the latest in the Schon solo anthology that truly focuses on the amazing style of one of the most popular and recognized guitarists of 70s and 80s popular music. 

"I On U" brings out elements of pre Steve Perry Journey music. The strictly instrumental CD, allows the listener to rely more on their imagination for interpretation, rather than lyrical reference. There isn't one underlying theme or feel to this CD. It is quite a musical journey into the mind and passion of Schon. The tracks fusion of jazz and new age musical flavors, along with rich melodies make this an incredible listen for those who love Schon the artist & musician, as well as those who generally gravitate to a deeper musical genre such as that which is inclusive on "I On U". 

From a production standpoint, Schon along with Igor Len & Gary Cirimelli collectively took the artistic energy of each song and equally channeled it through into production of the CD. The clarity of the CD as a whole, helps sets the stage for the 12 tracks musical journey. Although the CD is a purely guitar driven, Schon blends drums, bass and keyboards to further enhance the melodies of the tracks for a richer feel and sound. Through the stellar production, the listener can allow themselves to completely get lost in the music as a whole, as opposed to having to think too much about what they are listening to. From a deliberate and sub conscience standpoint, I think that is what Schon intended for the listeners; to simply fall into the music without much thought. 

Track #4, "The Chamber" has a completely alternative and techno vibe which sets itself apart from the majority of the tracks. If one track stands out as the most improvisational on the entire CD, this would be my choice. Schon lets loose on roller coaster of guitar riffs that accompany the eclectic nature of the track. 

Track #5 "Urban Angel" is just that, very urban and somewhat dark and brooding. You can almost feel the lost soul searching for answers in the abyss of looming metropolis through Schon's playing. This track is a welcomed break mid CD which has the listener doing a 360 if they were expecting predictability.  

To round out the most notable tracks from this CD, "Burning Bridges" & "Taken There" are some of the most Journey-esque cuts on the CD; if you really need to compare Schon's solo effort to that of his collaboration with the band. Anyway, both these tracks have more of a melodic rock edge feel to them. They are highly driven tracks, which have many musical peaks and valleys to hold the listener's interest. Although they have remnant elements of the style Schon has contributed over the years to all the Journey songs, they truly have an identity all there own. They are fluid in melodies and high octane guitar rock. 

Overall, this CD is an amazing listen. To hear an artist in their simplest and truest form is always a joy. For those who are used to Journey songs, this may not be your ideal listen. For those who have followed Schon over the years, or unknowingly exposed to this CD, it is one of his best solo efforts to date. There is a reason why Neal Schon is as respected of an artist as he is, and this CD is a prime example as to why he is held in such high esteem.

CD Info 

Neal Schon - I On U
Label: Favored Nations Records (USA)
Blue Passion
I On U
Timeless Motion
Chamber, The
Urban Angel
Moon Dust
Loner's Dream
Burning Bridges
It Will Happen
Taken There
Listen to samples and Purchase this CD online

Personnel: Neal Schon (guitar, synthesizer, bass instrument); Igor Len keyboards, sequencer); Gary Cirimelli, Omar Hakim (drums). Producers: Igor Len; Neal Schon; Gary Cirimelli. Recording information: Amulet Music, Nashville, TN 

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