published: 25 /
Memorable collaboration between guitarist Robin Trower, singer Maxi Priest and bassist/producer Livingstone Brown
To guarantee a fall release, guitarist/songwriter Robin Trower, British statesman of the 1970s and mastermind of ‘Too Rolling Stoned’ and ‘Bridge of Sighs,’ to name just a couple of gems, bassist/producer Livingston Brown and reggae singer Maxi Priest combined their respective talents to create ‘United State of Mind'. Now, one might not readily consider this trio a dream team as each artist has the ability to easily go it alone, yet together the three have created a memorable end-of-year triumph with originals songs that are just too good to miss.
Brown and Trower have had a fruitful recording and performing history, but for Trower and Priest, this project was a first. That said, one might not anticipate the result; the ease with which the two superstars interact, yet that may be the album’s most salient feature.
The opening title track is but one example where Priest and Trower feed off of one another’s energies in a truly inspiring way and without overstepping boundaries. Hence, ‘United State of Mind’ is a superlative introduction to their unique rapport.
‘Are We Just People?’ would suffice as a contagious dance groove, but the question invites introspection, especially when one considers the politics of our present time. Priest’s voice is ultra-convincing and soulful and Trower’s prowess on the pedal gives the song vitality and verve.
‘Walking Wounded’ pulls no punches. The Trower that we’ve so long admired reminds us why with his introductory blues-drenched statements. In the solo, he reiterates his compassion for the theme at hand. It’s a heartbreaking song about being let down and losing faith. Priest’s voice competently reveals that slow-burning agony, too. But neither player chooses to rush to the finish line. In fact, there’s a sense of patience and space they both proclaim that bleeds through the measures. While the idea of horn might sound surprising in this type of arrangement, it actually strikes a beautiful balance between these strong performers.
‘Hands to the Sky’ also benefits from horn, but this track is derived from a more classic rock oeuvre. It’s got a get-off-your seat inclusivity. ‘On Fire Like Zas Zsa’ is another crowd-pleaser with an unforgettable hook. That’s not to say that the other songs aren’t entertaining, but these are the standouts.
With Brown’s flair for fine production, you’ll enjoy subtle strings, upfront vocals and compelling riffs. Furthermore, whether you’re a fan of Memphis blues, Motown or reggae, you’ll find something familiar and satisfying on this exciting collaboration.
United State of Mind
Are We Just People
On Fire Like Zsa Zsa
Hands to the Sky
Bring It All Back to You
Where Our Love Came From