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Album Review : Jim Peterik & World Stage: Roots & Shoots Vol. 2

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Review by Pete Finn for MPM

Survivor founder member and co-writer of ‘Eye of the Tiger’, Jim Peterik, has another trick up his sleeve. The Jim Peterik & World Stage concept arose from the idea that “the musical and spiritual collaboration of great artists and friends could be truly special.”

This World Stage idea created a number of albums that followed the now close-to-legendary debut release in 2000, where Peterik produced his collaboration with rock legends such as Dennis DeYoung (ex-Styx), Kevin Cronin (REO Speedwagon), Johnny Van Zant (Lynyrd Skynyrd), Don Barnes (.38 Special), and Tom Kiefer (Cinderella) amongst others.

With the ‘Roots and Shoots’ albums, Peterik provides a new concept, where he presents his work that has been split between the “Roots” (classic rock stars) and the “Shoots” (emerging rock stars). ‘Volume 1’ was released in January 2024.

The follow-up ‘Roots & Shoots Volume 2’, sees Peterik thumb through his ‘little black book’ again, to produce collaborations with” Roots”, Mike Reno, Jason Scheff, Toby Hitchcock, his other band The Ides of March, Cathy Richardson, and Neil Donell. Among the “Shoots” are Sophia Sheth and Kevin Farris.

Jim Peterik, is also part of Pride of Lions with vocalist Toby Hitchcock. Peterik is one of the most esteemed and loved recording artists and songwriters in the melodic rock community.

‘Jim Peterik & World Stage: Roots & Shoots Vol. 2’ is released via Frontiers Music on 9 August 2024, it contains 12-tracks with a combined running time of just over 46 minutes.

The album begins with the new single, ‘American Dreamer’ which features Hi-Infidelity vocalist Dave Mikulskis. The opening harmony and pulsing beat sets the tone straight away. It’s a bouncy sing-along anthem. It has a feel-good summer vibe running through it, with power chords and lead breaks that guarantee the heads will be nodding when played live.

Canadian Mike Reno, the lead singer of Loverboy adds the powerful vocal to this slower track, ‘Your Own Hero’. The delicate piano is entwined around the strong lyrics, making a very effective sound. Peterik’s guitar provides pure 80’s AOR vibes.

‘Stronger Than You Know’ features Dave Mikulskis. This is ballad like, with careful and considerate vocals, delivered as an alternating duet between Mikulskis and Peterik. The musical accompaniment is acting as support for the soaring lyrics, it carries them calmly through the track, leaving the exemplary vocals as the stand out feature.

The well-known AOR powerhouse Toby Hitchcock is the guest on ‘All That’s Mine To Give’. It’s a duet of a power-ballad that has a cinematic feel. You imagine it being played to a strong emotional scene in a blockbuster of a movie. Seismic harmonies that are full of feeling.

‘Been to the Mountain’ features Jason Scheff the former Chicago bassist/vocalist. The opening riffs bring a bluesy feeling. Scheff stretches his vocal cords as Peterik bends his strings. The steady beats are broken by squealing guitar breaks, with the solo having a classic 80’s rock tone. One of my favourites.

Pride of Lions partner Toby Hitchcock returns for ‘Forever Endeavor’. More soaring vocal harmonies are the focal point, the tempo is slower with Hitchcock narrating the words. The backing sounds are rich and smooth and caress the ears.

Kevin Farris a contestant on ‘The Voice’ in 2020, features on ‘Rise Again’. It’s upbeat and full of power chords, the vocal hook in the chorus will have you singing along automatically. Peterik has his fingers dancing over the frets. This will fill the halls with the big arena rock sound.

Peterik’s original band The Ides Of March, formed back in 1966, are part of ‘We Can Fly’. This has a country feel mixed with The Ides of March jazz rock sounds, and it works well in producing a full and detailed track, the pace builds and concludes with a fun Blues Brothers like outro.

Starship’s Cathy Richardson joins Peterik for ‘Love Lives’. Cathy Richardson has portrayed Janis Joplin, and her undisputed talent shines though as she duets with Peterik in this country inspired heartfelt ballad. Just close your eyes and enjoy it.

Jim Peterik goes back to Canada, and recruits Chicago vocalist Neil Donell for ‘Until’. The track opens with piano notes accompanied by Spanish guitar sounds. Donell is serenading the listener, demonstrating some of his four-octave vocal range. The brass section sounds create a symphonic atmosphere as they bring something a bit different to the record.

‘Hit of Freedom’ features another one of the “Shoots” in Sophia Sheth an emerging artist based in Chicago. We’re eased in via a 70’s disco boogie, Sheth’s vocal is clear and strong. The pace will keep the toe-tappers smiling. The track progresses and comes out as modern-day pop hit. A further demonstration of Peterik’s strong and varied song writing abilities.

The album closer is the evocatively titled ‘The Road to Forever’ where Jim Peterik takes on the lead vocals. The orchestral background again gives the big cinematic sound. The steady pace portrays the emotion and passion behind Peterik’s lyrics. The brief lead guitar break shows us Peterik’s rock roots, as the track and album plays out to a suitably big finish.

Following on from the successful format of the previous release, ‘Roots & Shoots Vol. 2’ is the perfect example of “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it”. The production is excellent, as are the performances of all those involved in this World Stage project. Jim Peterik has again penned some fine AOR and melodic rock tracks, so if you’re a fan of the genre or just looking for something new to listen to, then give ‘Roots & Shoots’ a spin.





Announces New Album, ‘Roots & Shoots Vol.2’
Out August 9, 2024 — Pre-Order 

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