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Ramos: Living In the Light

Like it or not, Journey's influence on rock music, not just AOR, has been huge. You can hear it in many other bands from Journey's era, you can hear it in much of the new melodic hard rock that's emerged from Europe during the past several years, and you can hear it all over Living In the Light, the new album from Ramos, a band fronted by Josh Ramos guitarist for Journey's most-famous offshoot, The Storm. That band, you may recall, featured ex-Journeymen Gregg Rolie, Ross Valory and Steve Smith, plus a Steve Perry-esque singer named Kevin Chalfant. Its big hit came in 1991 with "I've Got A Lot To Learn About Love." (Ramos also is part of Two Fires, a more recent offshoot of The Storm fronted by Chalfant.)

Now, a dozen years later, Ramos has his own namesake band. With singer Mark Weitz (Malice, Eyes, Odin), glossy keyboards courtesy of Michael T. Ross (Hardline, Accomplice) and Ramos' Neal Schon tendencies, Living In the Light sounds like a lost Journey album from somewhere around 1988. And that's not a bad thing especially if you dig soaring melodies, deep hooks and that feel-good vibe you got off on so much when you were 17. Kelly Hansen (Hurricane, Unruly Child) produced Living In the Light to sound as slick as possible. Bassist Stuart Hamm (Joe Satriani, Steve Vai) guests on "Tell Me Why" and "Winds of Change," but the album's later songs (the rocker "Take It Or Leave It" and the mid-tempo "Come Back To Me") are among the strongest here, as is Josh's melodic instrumental piece "Willie," a tribute to his late brother. A few tracks get a little sappy, but this wouldn't be pure AOR if they didn't

Earlier this summer, I saw Ramos perform with Two Fires at a gig in the middle of Wisconsin. The guy is an imposing presence all muscles, hair, tan and shades. Although the guitar he wields on Living In the Light doesn't sound as tough as he looks, Ramos still embraces the rock-star image on record and in person. More power to him, I say

Added: August 26th 2003
Reviewer: Michael Popke
Related Link: Frontiers Records
Hits: 3339
Language: english

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