The RUSHONROCK–approved quartet – featuring Glen Hughes, Joe Bonamassa, Derek Sherinian and Jason Bonham – have hooked up with uber-producer Kevin Shirley for the third time.
And Hughes has offered a personal insight into to new record by offering up a track-by-track summary of Afterglow‘s highlights.
The former Deep Purple star said: “I wanted this album to have more acoustic moments than the previous two.
“I wanted to hear more of Derek [Sherinian] and I wanted the more angelic voice of Glenn as well as the more aggressive one which is there on songs like Crawl and Midnight Sun. Above all, I wanted more drama.
Hughes agains shares lead vocals with Bonamassa on the song Cry Freedom and he added: “The vocal sound that Kevin got on this record is second to none – it’s his best work yet with BCC.
“We butted heads a little on the first and second albums, simply because we’re both control freaks but this was the record on which Kevin and Glenn became friends.
“Kevin only needs three hours of sleep per night. He’s hyper and super-intelligent. He cracks the whip but he also knows exactly what he’s talking about when it comes to music.”
Afterglow is out on October 29. Read on for Hughes’ track-by-track synopsis:
BIG TRAIN?“It’s very quirky and British-sounding. Jason Bonham is an incredible timekeeper. I love the way he provides the engine room on that song.
THIS IS YOUR TIME?“Let’s give Jason Bonham a little more love. He writes his songs on an iPhone whilst driving his car, which is completely nuts. It really helps the groove factor. He emailed me some footage of him playing this song. He wrote the music and I wrote the lyrics. It has a huge chorus, too. Jason is not just a brilliant drummer – he’s a great songwriter.”
MIDNIGHT SUN?“I had my wallet stolen in a Starbucks and arrived late at the studio. When I got there the guys were fooling around with a song that sounds quite a lot like The Who, thanks to those Rabbit Bundrick-style keyboards. I picked up my bass and joined in. It’s quite a romp; there’s a definite vibe of Moon and Entwistle.”
CONFESSOR?“The first album had ‘No Time’, which was slow and groovy. I wrote ‘Confessor’ that way too, but when Jason heard it he insisted upon playing it – in his own words – like his dad would have done. We’re a democratic band and I went along with that. When he turbo-d it up it really came to life.”
CRY FREEDOM?“I sang this one alone originally until Kevin pointed out that the album didn’t have a song with split vocals. Joe and I sing well together. I’ve never had a problem sharing a microphone with other great singers. We really let rip off one another on this one, which has a ZZ Top/Humble Pie kind of a vibe.”
AFTERGLOW?“[At more than six minutes long] it’s an epic song. I was adamant that this album should have a proper title instead of a number. I played it to the band right at the end of sessions – purposely so. When they heard it on acoustic guitar, everybody agreed that it should name the album.”
DANDELION?“I wrote it slower than we recorded it; maybe I had too much coffee that day. Had we done it that way then maybe it would have sounded a bit dirge-like. Jason sets the tempos – he’s got a really good ear for the way that a song should sound.”
THE CIRCLE?“It’s one of my favourites on this record. It gives me the chance to use my ‘breathier’ voice. Kevin asked me to sing it an octave higher than I intended, and it worked. The high voice in the chorus is not my falsetto, it’s my upper register natural voice. I’m singing about being powerless; being in a dreamlike state. People have spoken about my voice and bass playing for so many years, I hope that this time they notice my lyrics because I’m very proud of them.”
COMMON MAN?“That’s another of the songs that came from Jason. When he sang me its melody acapella I could hear myself singing it. It could have been a song from Deep Purple’s ‘Stormbringer’ album; he wrote it for my voice.”
THE GIVER?“When you listen to the end of the song, if people are trying to figure out what key it’s in, I’m playing a capo [a device that raises the pitch of notes] on the fifth fret. When I wrote it, I deliberately held back from completing it because it needed Joe’s input. Kevin helped as well.”
CRAWL?“Some people may know that this song was going to be on ‘BCC2’ but we held it over because there simply wasn’t enough room. To me, it fits this album a lot better. It’s a really aggressive song – it’s dangerous and angry. I love it. It’s a great way to finish the record.”