E Street Band guitarist, Little Steven has released his first album since 1999′s Born Again Savage. In between touring with Bruce Springsteen and filming The Sopranos, he's obviously not had many opportunities to pursue his own projects. There is a mix of old and new tracks here, but the 15 piece band – The Disciples of Soul give the tracks a full and meaty sound.
Soulfire has a totally different feel from much of his other work. The influences from The Boss are apparent from the ballsy, high energy tracks, but Little Steve also has a lot in common with Bob Dylan and Van Morrison vocally. The album's title, Soulfire gives you a clue about the feel of the album, it's an uptempo soul and blues fusion replete with smart licks, crazy hooks, a killer organ and wicked brass section plus smooth backing singers.
Blues Is My Business really takes off as a track with a great groove. I Saw The Light continues the party mood of the album. The whole album is tinged with a vintage vibe Love On The Wrong Side Of Town and The City Weeps Tonight is a prime example of this with the jangling guitar progressions and production harking back to the 50s/60s soul sound. The retro overtones give the album an out of time charm. Standing In The Line Of Fire takes on a different feel, with the addition of a Mariachi band making the track much more southern influenced; it's more epic in scale than the rest of the tracks on the album and it's a standout song too. Ride The Night Away keeps the feel-good factor up, it's catchy, vibrant and fun.
As an album, it may not be a game changer but it's a solid feel good album with some cracking tunes that honours the timeless elements of music in the best possible way.
Groupie Rating 4/5