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Retribution - Jeff Scott Soto

Jeff Scott Soto is a veteran singer that has explored many facets of the rock genre. A majority of fans were introduced to his voice through his stellar work on Yngwie Malmsteen’s first two records or perhaps through his short but impressive run with classic rock legends Journey, but Soto is a singer that excels in everything he gets involved with. This is a guy that keeps himself busy. Aside from his solo career and keeping many side projects alive, you’ll currently find Soto fronting the supergroup Sons Of Apollo and touring with Trans-Siberian Orchestra. Let’s see…. prog, melodic rock, metal, traditional orchestral pieces…. like I said, this guy does it all.

On this solo release, which marks his 15th anniversary with the Frontiers record label, Soto concentrates on his melodic rock side. For fans that wanted to see him stay with Journey and make that brand of music, this Retribution release feels like it could have been the album that they made together.

These songs always maintain a melodic rock integrity, even though they will vary in approach. Songs like the title cut and “Bullet For My Baby” are on the aggressive side of the genre but still have the right elements to make them appealing to the melodic rock fan. Straight forward verse-chorus-verse structure with big choruses, big harmonies, and big melodic guitar solos is where melodic rock begins, and Soto takes all of that and plugs them into some excellent songs. Any of these songs could go as a single. The softer ballads — “Song For Joey,” “Autumn,” and “Feels Like Forever” — are all potential winners among the ballad-loving fan. Fans who prefer the heavier side of melodic rock will turn to songs like “Retribution,” “Rage Of The Year,” and “Breakout,” among others. 

The songs that appealed to this listener the most were the ones that took me back to a traditional 80’s feel. I was reminded of Journey, Survivor, Joe Lynn Turner-era Rainbow, Foreigner, and a host of others while listening to some of these songs. I immediately fell in love with the soft harmony in “Dedicate To You,” with its classic echoing of the lead vocal line, a technique that was a melodic rock staple in the 80’s. “Inside/Outside” is a song that mixes a steady and soaring vocal with a grinding guitar part lying just underneath it. This technique was also something that reminded me of the classic 80’s melodic rock genre. And, perhaps the most reminiscent of that classic 80’s sound is a song called “Reign Again”. Gentle flowing verses that float over a cascading keyboard part, a big catchy chorus, and a short but effective guitar solo that’s perfectly placed — that’s what made songs work in the genre in days gone by, and it’s what makes this album work today.


Retribution and Beyond: 
The Jeff Scott Soto Interview

I think of Jeff Scott Soto and I think of a guy that will succeed in any band. One of the most versatile singers the rock world has ever known, he has a catalog of work that spans generations and genres. When I was blessed with an opportunity to speak with Jeff it was a dream come true. Yngwie Malmsteen's Marching Out album is among my favorite records of all time, and that's almost entirely because of the vocal work on display from Jeff Scott Soto. The enormous body of work that he's done since that time has just proven time and time again that he is one of the best rock singers of all time.

The following conversation took place on November 17, 2017 with Jeff calling in from Denver, Colorado, while on tour with Trans-Siberian Orchestra. He spoke about everything from his time with Yngwie to his most recent solo effort, Retribution. One of the things I appreciated most about speaking with Jeff was his willingness to talk and his excitement about the music he continues to create. I hope that by listening to this conversation you find out more about Jeff and his work, and that you might feel the warm and gentle nature of his personality shine through.

By using the time markers below, you can go directly to any portion of the interview you prefer! Enjoy!!

00:00 - 01:55     With so much on your plate already, why did you decide                           to release Retribution?

01:56 - 03:25     Do you have a regimen to keep your voice in shape?

03:26 - 04:50     Did you go in to this album focused on capturing a                                   specific sound?

04:51 - 07:31     Jeff discusses working out songs and how he comes up                           with his parts.

07:32 - 11:27     Is there anything you’d like to tweak or change on                                   Retribution? Jeff discusses why he doesn’t strive for                                 absolute perfection when recording.

11:28 - 13:39     What should I play for someone who’s never heard your                           voice?

13:40 - 14:37     Is there a piece of music that you’re most proud of?

14:38 - 16:12     Would you take the gig if Brian May called and asked                               you to front Queen?

16:13 - 18:25     If you presented Retribution to the record company and                           they asked you to cut one song, which song do you take                           off? 

18:26 - 19:56     Jeff talks about his new management company, and                                 arranging his song “Rage Of The Year” and hiring on                                 Bigfoot singer Anthony Ellis.

19:57 - 20:16     What album do you take to the desert island?

20:17 - 21:15     Ozzy’s Diary Of A Madman or Blizzard Of Ozz?

21:16 -  21:34    Do you have a favorite track on this Retribution                                       record? 

21:35 - 23:18     You just released a video for “Retribution” and the band                           in the video looks a lot better than the band on the                                 album. How did that come about?

23:19 - 25:00     Tell me about your relationship with Yngwie Malmsteen                           and if you would ever work with him again.

25:01 - 26:58     Jeff talks about touring. 

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