by Susie Salva
Seductive and successful singer-songwriter Pat Monahan releases his debut solo album, "Last of Seven," on Columbia Records, which finds the sultry and soulful artist exploring soul rock, pop music and gospel rhythms. This CD takes his characteristic soaring, emotive vocals and powerful storytelling lyrics-behind such distinctive hits as "Drops of Jupiter," "Meet Virginia," and "Calling All Angels," into a whole new dimension.
While temporarily side stepping Grammy award winning Train, Monahan declares that this record is anything but a public declaration that Train has reached its final destination. "In many aspects of Train I would be considered the leader of the group," explains Monahan, "I am considered simply one member of Train with equal say which works incredibly well for the band, but not always for the art."
"On this project I became the leader on all levels and so there was no sacrifice or compromise. But soon I realized that the last thing that I want is for these songs I’ve written with other people reflect poorly on Train. When people ask, ‘Is Train broken up?’ It’s very much the opposite. The guys have been extremely supportive on this record. They want this album to do well – as any friend would for any friend and I want the same for them. For me, making this album makes Train live longer instead of the opposite being true."
This compelling musician finds himself writing a revelatory song cycle offering the most intimate, powerful, and eclectic set of songs of his career. Working with producer Patrick Leonard at the helm (Madonna, Roger Waters, Elton John) Leonard was able to extract some pop gems, sentimental ballads and gospel imbues touches. "We (Patrick & Monahan) played together it felt magical and the whole process would be extremely spontaneous." Monahan says that he finds himself in a good place in his life.
On "Last of Seven," the title track Monahan says that he always described himself as the "last of seven children" and "Patrick loved the phrase, so he wrote this beautiful brief piece of music. The lyrics spell out this sentiment," ‘from the steel mills of Pennsylvania (his hometown) to the piers of the Puget Sound (where he lives now) "Here I am/the last of seven.’ "It’s who I am."
On this disc Monahan is joined by Brandi Carlile on the duet "Pirate on the Run." While Graham Nash lends background vocals to "Cowboys & Indians, as Richie Sambora adds acoustic guitar to "Someday."
"Her Eyes," the album opener and first single is an up-tempo number inspired by Monahan’s girlfriend and daughter. This represents a new chapter for the frontman just as "Drops of Jupiter" was about a trip that a girl was on this is about a trip that I’m on. This track is beautiful, wonderful and funny.
Also, on the disc is the choir-backed song "Someday," dealing with topics of the after-life. During recording this track Monahan realized, "I wasn’t riding the road towards another Train record, I was on a different road."
"Ooh My My," a stand out rocker by this sexy musician strikes a cord with his female audience. "Raise Your Hands," a gospel imbued tune was especially "created for a live performance but the song is about that moment when everyone can come together and feel the same way about something."
Monahan has proven that he can set himself apart from Train and create his own distinctive set of songs with a message of hope and renewal. This talented songwriter explores the ups and downs in life and comes out on top. Be sure to pick up the new release soon.
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Written by Susie Salva