hughes turner project

Track Listing
1. Devil's Road
2. You Can't Stop Rock N Roll
3. Missed Your Name
4. Mystery of the Heart
5. Sister Midnight
6. Better Man
7. Heaven's Missing An Angel
8. Fade Away
9. Ride the Storm
10. Run, Run, Run
11. On the Ledge

MTM 2002

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More Releases by Glenn Hughes:
Glenn Hughes - Building the Machine (2001)
Voodoo Hill - ST (2000)
John Norum - Face the Truth (1992)
Hughes/Thrall (1982)
Deep Purple - Stormbringer (1974)
More Releases By Joe Lynn Turner:
Joe Lynn Turner - Slam (2001)
Nikolo Kotzev's Nostradamus (2001)
Brazen Abbot - Bad Religion (1997)
Yngwie Malmsteen - Odyssey (1988)
Rainbow - Straight Between the Eyes (1983)


This is one of those matches that some would say is 'made in heaven', others claim it could never happen... but it did, and has been met with more than its fair share of success. It was recieved by the public so well, a live album is in the works, not to mention a studio followup! What is this miraculous album you might ask? Well its none other than HTP which stands for: Hughes Turner Project, Hughes being the one and only Glenn Hughes from Deep Purple fame, and Turner as in JLT, Joe Lynn Turner, also an ex-Purple singer (not to mention Yngwie, Rainbow, etc). They have both been solo for a dozen years or more, while fronting for sideprojects on the side, trying to capture the same type of audience...AOR fans looking for a blues based quick fix. Banded together, they are a force to be reckoned with, the highest of quality performances expected and delivered. High praise is lavishly heaped on but with good reason... most anything Turner touches turns to gold (with a "Mother Earth" exception) and while Glenn is sometimes an acquired taste, he definitely has his fans.

With two such powerful larger than life vocalists vying for attention on one disc, you would think one or the other would dominate while the leftover singer falls through the cracks. Not so, for equal time is dished out, Turner taking charge of a few while Glenn rips it up on his own for another series. Its this kind of interaction, solo spotting and backing support shared with zest and finesse that makes the cd work where it easily could have failed.  Also helping pave the way to success is a plethora of capable musicians that eagerly pound the skins, relish in the shredding of guitar strings and blaze on the keys set to organ sounds. 

"Heaven's Missing An Angel" is a wonderful ballad that sings and soars with a tender bluesy edge. As the story goes, John Sykes fell in love with the song but decided it needed retouching so he cleaned it up and rewrote the majority of the music (I imagine the magnificent guitar solo is his creation as well) plus insisted that he perform on it too! Therefore, it shows more than a little bit of John Sykes' "Loveland" frolicking in the chorus and certain verses and hooks. This is by far the disc's most outstanding jewel, a standout with its sense of classic style and Sykes' classy riffing that gently squeezes the heart of emotion. Its a ballad that is timeless in its bluesy sensibilities, catchy with its gorgeous chorus and lovely in every way imaginable. Glenn's vocal nuances lifts it from 'great' to 'magnificent'. Pretty and superbly executed with a rather dramatic ending. JLT's showcase track "Mystery of the Heart" is Rainbow hued, shining brightly with a myriad of color and breezy melodic beauty. Its easy to settle upon the fluffy clouds that drift by on the soft wings of the chorus and simply enjoy the ride as it sends tingles of thrill through the soul. "Fade Away" finishes up the ballad-esque trilogy... the pace is soft with haunting subtlety, the voices rising a little above a whisper and the organ drifting in and out of the consciousness, like a ghost against the backdrop of midnight. The two vocalists moving back and forth in the spotlight like apparitions...causing shivers to run up the spine. Bits of piano and easy gliding electric guitar makes the atmosphere feel complete.

As for tracks that don't pull heartstrings and rather appeals to the wildside in us all, there's plenty of those too. Of special note is the wandering journey of "On the Ledge" that clocks in at around seven minutes and takes the breath away for the duration. Perfect! The opener "Devil's Road" sees Hughes and Turner trading off of each other and Paul Gilbert shredding it up on the guitar, pouring out those soulful tones. The chorus is a slice of heaven! "Missed Your Name" and "Ride the Storm" both are brimming with Hammond Organ that jams and are highly reminiscent of Purp's sizzling scorchers from the Coverdale era, mainly "Stormbringer" and "Burn".

The rest of the album is not as standout, the songs kind of run into one another, but all of high quality whether you appreciate that sort of spin on rock or not. Bluesy rollicking bar type songs, that chug along with the speed of a drinking game and other hard rock antics see Turner and Hughes jumping from one swinging hard rock ditty to another. When the album fizzles out towards the end, its fondly remember as a bloody good time, but perhaps with too few AOR touches and too many tracks that are washed out in the garish splashes of Purple that becomes overpowering, especially during the middle which bogs down musically. They both have been heading in this direction with their solo albums for years, so its no surprise, although a bit of an expected letdown in the fact they can't claim their own identity as a new dynamic duo instead of leaning off of the Purple legacy. For those very much in love with the era however, this is the finest example of that niche of hard rock in not years...but decades.

Hughes Turner Project, or HTP Volume I, definitely quenches the thirst for this type of blues centered hard rockin' material, but its when the boys go melodic rock is when they show their true talent. The organ jamming tracks kind of wear on one after awhile ("Run, Run, Run", "Can't Stop Rock N Roll"), but are fun in short doses. The material that lasts take more care in not just shoving this down your throat at every ample opportunity. Perhaps the next release will slack off on the organs and pick up where "Heaven's Missing An Angel", "On the Ledge" and "Fade Away" left off as they learn how to better combine their talents to their most effectiveness, using more Rainbow influences and less Purple. Until then, this is definitely a nice release to while away the summer nights.

Songs - 7.5, Performance - 8.5, Production - 8.5, Lyrics - 8.2

Hot Spots:
Bottom Line: JLT and Hughes together?  A dream come true?  Almost...!

Review by Alanna Evans -

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