“Open Arms”, “Faithfully”, “Can’t Help Falling In Love With You”, and “Ave Maria”, it’s tough to argue with Neil Schon’s choice of songs for his first-ever Holiday EP. The December 2017 album is a virtuoso at work. While Journey is best known for their love songs and Steve Perry’s soaring vocals, it was those intense and passionate guitar solos that reminded everyone that Journey is a ROCK group that can hold their own with their heavier peers. In 2017, Neil Schon was inducted into the Rock And Roll Hall of Fame with his Journey bandmates (including Steve Perry!). This summer Def Leppard is joining Journey on a U.S. tour that will even feature Foreigner on a few triple headlining gigs.
“AVE MARIA” – The German Schubert spiritual anthem gets treated to a new Neil Schon production on the EP. Neil began his career playing with Carlos Santana and these songs on the EP have a very Santana-like feel that is a HUGE compliment! Neil and his wife, Michaele, are offering “Ave Maria” for free at http://schonmusic.com/
“OPEN ARMS” and “FAITHFULLY” – Strip away the vocals and the timeless lyrics and can these arena power ballads still shine? YES! Schon takes these Journey favorites to new inspirational heights with mind-blowing guitar solos that don’t stray from the original but punch new intensity into the riffs. Neil writes on his website that Prince asked for permission to record “Purple Rain” since he thought the riff mimicked “Faithfully”, who knew! “Open Arms” – A, “Faithfully” – A+ grade.
“CAN’T HELP FALLING IN LOVE” – Neil Schon does Elvis! If I was only able to keep one song from the four track EP, “Can’t Help Falling In Love” is the topic rival to “Faithfully”. Just as the original vocal arrangement does, the song starts with a soft introduction and subdued pace but continues to draw you in deeper and deeper as the song progresses. The back half of the song is pure guitar bliss. If you’re looking for a rockin’ wedding song, this version is highly recommended! A+