The one time vocalist for hard rockers Cobra, and later the frontman for AOR icons Survivor, Jimi Jamison returns this month with his newest solo effort, “Never Too Late”. Jamison has one of the most readily identifiable voices in popular music, and he was one bad career choice from being Deep Purple’s frontman when Ian Gillian departed in the mid-80s. We’ll never know how that might have panned out, but he made a career out of giving voice to some indelible songs over the years.
The Memphis native returned to Survivor last year, but Jamison has also been bust creating new music and “Never Too Late” is glorious return to what he does best, which is through a catchy melody on his shoulders and carry it threw the engulfing guitars, drums, bass and keys like a hero hellbent on salvation.
“Never Too Late” mark’s Jamison’s third solo effort, and he wastes no time sinking the hook with the album opener “Everybody’s Got a Broken Heart” which is the best song Journey never wrote in a decade or more. After a moody piano intro, we are brought into the uptempo feel good vibe that is addictive and harks back to a better time in one’s memories.
“The Great Unknown” carries that momentum forward. At 61, Jamison’s voice is as engaging as ever, and he sucks you into the emotion of each song, such as the album’s first single, the title track, “Never Too Late”, which despite not being written by his Survivor counterparts, Frankie Sullivan and Jim Peterik has that undeniable Survivor feel.
For this album, Jamison teamed up with Erik Mårtensson (Eclipse, W.E.T.) who plays guitar and bass as well as handling production duties. He gives the album a rich, full, at times massive sound. That feeling comes across on the mammoth track, “I Can’t Turn Back”.
“Street Survivor” really embraces Jamison’s 80s roots. In fact it could have been a track on Survivor’s “Vital Signs” or “When Seconds Count” albums.
Of course it would not be a Jamison album without a heart swelling power-ballad, such as the one he delivers with “The Air That I Breathe” or the atmospheric spiraling epic feel of “Heaven Call Your Name”.
“Calling the Game” and “Bullet in the Gun” represent two more of the many stand out tracks found here. Are there one or two that some might consider filler? Perhaps, but even the “lesser” songs are worthy spins, and those are relative to a listener’s perspective.
Track by Track, Jamison delivers a mammoth return to what he does best which is melodic 80s rock, albeit without some of the cheese the era was known for. “Never Too Late” is an appropriate title, as there is no such thing as too late for great music, and he hits the nail on the head here. He rocks hard, he sings with power and melody, and he unleashes of fury of addictive songs as monumental as any he is already famous for.