Jeffrey Gaines is back on the new music radar with his first album release in eight years. The Live in Europe album is a solo acoustic CD that features his soulful voice and heart-felt lyrics, recorded on a 2010 tour across the European continent supporting Joe Jackson.
Gaines’ voice, once touted by Rolling Stone as “the voice of a new generation” is still as powerful and poignant as ever and his guitar playing is excellent throughout. The collection of songs that he performs includes some selections from earlier albums, as well as some previously unreleased tracks all performed with a fresh new light.
The highlight for me was a killer version of “Five Years,” the masterpiece opening track to David Bowie’s The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars (unbelievably recorded forty years ago), about the impending end of the world. The vocals on this track are superb.
Other highlights included the second track, “Scares Me More” and the poignant “Headmasters of Time,” two tracks off of his debut album, recast twenty years later by a more seasoned rocker, but still possessing the same raw emotion and gritty vocals.
His biggest hit, “In Your Eyes,” the Peter Gabriel cover (which was better than Gabriel’s original), is not included on the album, which gives us more time to focus on the rest of his excellent catalog. We’ll reflect on relationships, the state of the world, war time and other introspective moments. It’s a nice collection of tunes.
Gaines will be touring throughout the Northeast over the summer in support of the new album. In the mean time, grab a drink, kick up your feet and enjoy this quick trip to Europe with a classic storyteller.