Good album, fantastic cause! Back in 2015 a young man was diving at a beach near his home in Connecticut and hit a rock which left him with life-changing spinal injuries. Joe Barber was 18 at the time and has been left paralysed from the chest down. This tragic event provided the inspiration for close family friend Johnny Gioeli to write and release his first solo album with a big portion of the money raised from the album going directly to help pay for the huge ongoing medical expenses.
Surprisingly many are unfamiliar with the name Johnny Gioeli who is something of a true veteran metal vocalist. Having played professionally since the age of 11 he has been on an amazing musical journey which has seen him sing on more than 50 albums for the likes of Axel Rudi Pell, Crush 40 and Hardline.
One Voice sees Gioeli unshackle himself from just being a singer in a band by using the opportunity to become lyrically free to just write what he wants with the music being inspired by some really simple thoughts. Opening track ‘Drive’ typifies this with his reflections of getting into his car in the pre-mobile phone era and just cranking up the music as he heads down the highway. Melodic rock heydays revisited… absolutely… ’let the wind blow through your hair like its 1980 …come on and drive’. With the vocals nailed this is a real feel good number which would have any crowd salivating in a stadium rock show as it delivers a real air punching celebration. Musically the album sits perfectly alongside any Bon Jovi albums from the last decade with radio friendly and easy to listen to tracks such as ‘It’ and ‘Running’. Music is a universal language which brings people together and the title track ‘One Voice’ shows maturity like a fine wine with its passionate plea and emotion grabbing guitar solo.
The invigorating charms of ‘Mind Melt’ and ‘Let Me Know’ are catchy up-tempo affairs with the guitar playing of Eric Gadrix showing an individual who does not overplay but just plays for the song. ‘Deeper’ has a cameo appearance on drums from Deen Castronovo (Dead Daisies) who has previously collaborated with Gioeli on their excellent joint 2018 release ‘Set The World On Fire’. This track and ‘Price We Pay’ are pretty good power ballads with depth, emotion and some subtle guitar playing.
Trusted band mate Alessandro Del Vecchio (Hardline) is credited on the album but it is his producing skills that stand out and not his keyboard playing as it is like finding the proverbial needle in the haystack to actually hear any keys being played throughout the album. Does this really have a negative impact on the music… well, no. ‘Hit Me Once, Hit Ya Twice’ has a fairly raw grungy style riff and is certainly a grower. ‘Out of Here’ has Gioeli bubbling over with frustration after spending an hour completing a purchase in of all things a doughnut shop… ’Wait in line, How much longer who knows’. Who would have thought it? You have to admire the simplicity of the inspiration which delivers a catchy sing along anthem which includes a dazzling guitar solo pouring through the speakers.
There are many very average vocalists out there but Gioeli is at the upper end of the spectrum with his warm engaging delivery which leaves the listener feeling uplifted and very happy. Yes it could be classed as typical melodic AOR fair but if this album had been released back in the day it would have shifted some serious units with the right promotion. There isn’t a bad song on here and if you want to shell out some money for a fine album and support young Joe Barber then you know what you need to do.
Review by Andrew Manning
- One Voice
- Mind Melt
- Let Me Know
- Hit Me Once, Hit Ya Twice
- Price We Pay
- Out Of Here
- Oh Fathers