Rattling off every album that Steve Lukather has contributed to is akin to individually counting every grain in a mug full of sand. Quite simply, the legendary Toto guitarist is the man. He’s the fixer, your first port of call, the guy that can turn shit into gold. Stevie Nicks, Lionel Richie, and three out of four Beatles have benefited from his genius, and barring the “hee hee’s” and “shamone’s”, Michael Jackson had Lukather and his Toto band mates provide most of the backbone on his colossal selling Thriller album.
Steve Lukather – Bridges (The Players Club / Mascot Label Group)
Release Date: 16 June 2023
Words: Brian Boyle
As far as his solo endeavours go, Bridges is his ninth studio effort, following on from the magnificent I Found The Sun Again in 2021. With him declaring that there will never be another studio album from Toto, co-writing most of the record with Joseph Williams and David Paich, and appearances from other past members, Bridges is as close as you’re going to get.
“I see it as a bridge between my solo music and Toto Music,” Steve Lukather told us. “The fact that Joseph Williams, David Paich and I wrote most of the record, and the fact I invited many of the old Toto gang to come and play, co-writers like Randy Goodrum and Stan Lynch brings all this together.
“It also proves that most of my old pals and I are still great friends, and I wanted to do a record ‘in the style of,’ as Toto will never record another studio album. This is as close as we will get. We still love writing and creating, and recording together, and we will no doubt continue to work with each other on our respective solo works. It’s complicated, and at the age I am now, I do NOT wish to do anything complicated.”
Opening tracks Far From Over and Not My Kind Of People do have familiar AOR chimes, but there is a sense Lukather is giving an extra bit of thrust in his delivery. Plus, on the latter, there weren’t many Toto tracks that aired lyrics like “right up my ass crack.”
Far From Over was co-written with his eldest son, Trevor. “When he was born 35 years ago, I looked into his eyes before I cut the cord and said to myself, ‘I wonder if he will follow in my footsteps?'” Steve said. “He sure did! It is a joy beyond belief cause he really is fucking good! I wish I could say I taught him everything, but I didn’t. He is the only one of my four kids that has gotten into music so far and made it his life. He has a natural gift that one can’t learn. I could not be prouder than I am.”
Lukather’s reputation as a guitarist is set in stone. What that man can do with a lump of wood and long strands of nickel and steel is beyond frightening. But it’s always worth celebrating his Midas touch as a singer-songwriter. Tracks like Someone and the fulsome ballad, All Forevers Must End, are a true celebration of Lukather, the vocalist.
Being a massive Beatles fan and, of course, a longtime member of Ringo Starr’s All-Starr Band, it’s no surprise to hear a track of wonderful simplicity like the free-flowing When I See You Again, no bells and whistles, just addictive shoots of melody.
Never afraid to mix it up a bit, Burning Bridges fuses a dirty blues rock groove with delicate Jazz notes, and there are not many musicians around today who would have the kahunas to try that.
Curtain closer I’ll Never Know acts as a big comfort blanket for those struggling with the fact that the kings of AOR have ceased recording. It could have been a classic Toto track at any period of their career, but aside from that fantasy, it’s pure Lukather, hooks aplenty with visually inducing atmospheric guitar tones.
The one thing you’re guaranteed when you hire Steve Lukather is quality. You will struggle to find anything with his name associated with it that’s low-grade. Heck, he made Olivia Newton John’s Physical sound digestible.
Bridges is another songwriting masterclass from one of music’s true gems.
Bridges is available from https://lnk.to/SteveLukather.
- Far From Over
- Not My Kind of People
- All Forevers Must End
- When I See You Again
- Take My Love
- Burning Bridges
- I’ll Never Know