Corey Glover - The Pledge (2012)

Corey Glover
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After a 14-year wait, Corey Glover fans can rejoice and dig into his second solo project, The Pledge, now available with ten stellar songs and the rocker’s ageless, powerhouse vocals. Released through Pledgemusic, an online Direct-to-Fan/Fan-funded music platform, fans are offered a wide-range of incentives and exclusive content as a pledger, depending on your budget. It is but one innovation of many for an artist whose multi-decade career has been full of them.

After a 14-year wait, Corey Glover fans can rejoice and dig into his second solo project, The Pledge, now available with ten stellar songs and the rocker’s ageless, powerhouse vocals. Released through Pledgemusic, an online Direct-to-Fan/Fan-funded music platform, fans are offered a wide-range of incentives and exclusive content as a pledger, depending on your budget. It is but one innovation of many for an artist whose multi-decade career has been full of them.

Following an extended run as the lead vocalist for the 1990s black rock band, Living Colour, Corey Glover released his anxiously anticipated debut solo album, Hymns, in 1998 on LaFace Records. While it garnered a couple of minor hits, including “April Rain,” sales were less than ideal for the hybrid soul/rock project, partially because of unfocused marketing by a label better equipped at promoting radio R&B and partially because the project, like much of Glover’s Living Colour work before it, was years ahead of its time. Still, hardcore fans of the cult classic project have clamored for a follow-up. Instead, Glover continued fronting Living Colour, pursued an acting career—including landing the coveted role of Judas in a national touring production of Jesus Christ Superstar, and serves as a featured vocalist with yet another band, Galactic. Given so many competing priorities and the commercial reception of his debut, the long reprieve between projects was certainly understandable.

Now finally, after more than a decade, patient fans have been rewarded with a sophomore project aligned with their eclectic artist’s unique and specific tastes. By self-producing The Pledge, Glover had the freedom to pick and choose the songs, the musicians, songwriters and co-producer. Accordingly, this project takes full advantage of the versatility, vocal prowess and interpretative skills Glover’s known for. Whether it is soul, funk, R&B, hard rock or heavy metal, Glover has proven he’s mastered the art of adaptability.

He’s not the only veteran artist adapting on The Pledge. Special recognition is due to the project co-producer, V. Jeffrey Smith (The Family Stand, SoulFolk Experience) for his distinctive songwriting skills on most of the songs, keen musicianship, and his extraordinary use of various horns, one that enhances the emotion of so many Glover’s songs. With this unique collaboration, there is a strong synergy between Glover and Smith that brings a consistency to the project, in themes and energy.

The Pledge begins with "Clear," a rocker co-written by Glover and Smith about self-awareness and overcoming negativity. With a guitar solo by Jeff Jeudy, solid horn work, David Pilgrim holding down the solid bass line, and a backing choir of Maritri Garrett, V. Jeffrey Smith and a doubling Glover (who also gives a meaningful lead performance), "Clear" gives the album a strong start.

Glover’s latestalso boasts three cover songs, originally performed by The Family Stand. "Little White, Little Black Lies" is a pure slice of funk digging into the lies of everyday life. With a hot sax solo by Randy Gilmore, wicked lead vocal by Glover and background vocals by Smith and Sandra St. Victor, Glover makes this song his own. "Sweet Liberation,” the song this reviewer keeps going back to, with its captivating storytelling, unforgettable line ("the only slave and master of me is me”), and a vocal that moves from the bottom of Glover’s gut to the top of his range,” caps off this tour de force with a sizzling violin solo by Mazz Swift.

“Sweet Liberation” isn’t the only Glover-Smith collabo addressing freedoms. "What Must I Do Now" has been described by the lyricist Peter Lord as being about "what does it take for people of color in this world to have the full depth and breadth of their humanity acknowledged". Sung with a heart full of soul and soaring harmonies, it too is a standout and a worthy soul cover.

The rest of the album is spread across various genres. Old school metal with "Toxic," a tale of love gone bad, with a heavy bass, fuzzy lead guitar and fittingly angry, bitter vocal perfect for the song. Another favorite, "Same" has the musical feel of an old Nirvana song, but with the stinging vocal, lyrical narrative and a chorus of "la-la-la-las" to lighten things up, it really hits the metal sweet spot. Pure funk rules with "Express Yo’ Zelf," a love song with chunky horns, percussion and a vocal that clearly means business. Even more funk is found on "S.T.O.T.H" with its anthemic feel, irresistible hook and urge to get up and dance.

Helping to finish out the project is the Stephen DeAcutis penned "Alone Again," a keys driven relationship song rich with emotional vocals, trumpet, guitars and a bass that brings the song right on home to a satisfying conclusion. It’s just the kind of power ballad missed so much on rock radio today. Rounding out The Pledge is a stunning soulful ballad, "Come Home." Penned by Smith and Glover, the song is epic in scope and tells a tale of both suffering and hope of recovery. With a plaintive sax solo to offset the longing and passion of Glover's soaring vocals, this is one of the most moving songs of 2012.

Corey Glover's The Pledge showcases an artist at the peak of his vocal ability, unafraid to display his emotions, or make a statement through his music, whether personal or political. By wisely choosing the ten songs on this album, the selections and pacing give The Pledge an intimate and cohesive feel, expressing the feelings of a man who has experienced much in his personal and musical life over the years and is willing to share it all with his fans. Highly Recommended.

By Colleen Rubino

*The Pledge is only available through "Pledgemusic" at the following link: http://www.pledgemusic.com/projects/coreyglovermusic.

 
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