October 5, 2018 saw the third solo studio album released by Steve Perry. His first official solo album release in 24 years, following 1994’s For the Love of Strange Medicine. Of course Steve would be part of the album release Trial By Fire in 1996 during an extremely short Journey reunion. Following that up in 1998 with a few solo “film” tunes on the soundtrack for Quest for Camelot.
Honestly if you followed Steve like a hawk he was still dabbling in and out of music studios working with other musicians in the 2000’s. Granted none of the material was released on his own solo albums or remasters. These tracks would be on multiple upcoming artists. He contributed his vocals to the backgrounds mostly.
So that’s the extremely short version of Steve Perry’s history from 1994 – 2000’s… However, clearly the biggest news was that of his August 14th, 2018 release of No Erasin’. This would be the first single to be released from Traces.
Alright…so after a few singles and videos posted online. October 5th, 2018 was here. Jere and myself had been tipped off for years about Steve working with random artists so a full studio album to us just seemed like it was absolutely possible. With remasters in the works it all made a lot of sense! Ok, so we had to wait till 2018 but here it came!
Traces to me is the heartbreaking album that made the most sense for Steve to release. It is nothing short of a heartache and dark undertones. Are there some lights on at the end of the tunnel? No doubt about it! Steve had some wonderful twists and play on words added to Traces to give the listener a positive movement as well. But again the sadness is there and if you have ever lost anyone in your life this album brings a lot of those feelings back full circle.
I don’t think I’ve ever heard a more honest album then that of Traces. And yes I’m an extreme Steve Perry fanboy… so lets just get that reminder out there. I just couldn’t help but get caught up in the pallet of words used. Some wanted more rock.. others love the ballads. Does everyone want a few tracks like Sun Shines Gray? Umm.. yes! But you have got to remember this album wasn’t about one specific genre of music. It was in fact a pallet of emotions put together to give you the sense of where Steve was and how he’s trying to climb back out of the darkness. This is not the easiest thing to do. And again if you’ve personally lost someone in your life then you can easily relate. Those who have not will and have blown off this album has a satire or shadow of what was one of the greatest vocalists in rock history. In my opinion.. people who “don’t understand” this album are not looking deep enough. There’s so much more than just the lyrics. There’s the soft stillness and rough edges as if a piece of paper had been torn a part several times. As a whole it is paper.. torn a part it’s still paper.. but it takes time to mend things back together. And sometimes things don’t always come back.
As I sit in my office chair and listen to Traces on LP from start to finish at 1:00am one year after it was originally released I still believe this is the most beautiful album Steve has released in his career. From the straight forward opener of No Erasin’ to the devastating Most of All and making the turn to Sun Shines Gray you as the listener have been guided. You can’t erase the past..you can always remember your “most of all” and even in the darkness the Sun Shines Gray. It may be bleak but there are still moments of happiness out there in life. And as Steve ends the album with some additional uplifting ballads, you know he’s going to be as good as he possibly can be in his life. One year later.. this album still speaks volumes to me about how fragile life is and how it changes in a blink of an eye.
Is this album autobiographical? I would say without question these songs come straight from Steve’s soul. So for those who continue to wait for Steve to do a live show… remember.. it could happen.. but it may not.. and that is ok. After all this wasn’t about a comeback. This wasn’t about a final curtain call. This was about sharing a loss, going through a grieving process and hopefully in the end finding some sort of peace with the decisions made.. in the past.. in the present.. and in the future.