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The creative spark that eventually evolved into Blue Sky Riders was struck when two veteran singer/songwriters worked on their first song together. When Kenny Loggins, one of the
premiere voices in modern popular music, joined forces with Gary Burr, one of Nashville s most accomplished writers, on the well-received 2008 release "How About Now," they felt they sounded like brothers when they sang together. Loggins, looking for a creative step forward in his musical career, decided on the-spot to form a band but wanted to add a third, female voice. Burr, who has been named Songwriter of the Year by ASCAP, Billboard and NSAI and has worked with artists such as Juice Newton, Conway Twitty and Wynonna Judd, suggested singer/songwriter Georgia Middleman, who has worked with Keith Urban, Faith Hill and Martina McBride among others. Blue Sky Riders was born. All three veterans sing lead amid three-part harmonies, which makes Blue Sky Riders unique.
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I've seen Mr. Loggins multiple times in NE Ohio, including Blossom Music Center last century and his gig supporting the Cleveland Clinic HeartThrob Ball a couple years ago. I almost can't get my mind around his multiple personalities, from his brilliant vinyl folkish days "Sittin' In" with Jim Messina to his mega-volt electric Danger Zone, Don't Fight It and Caddyshack successes. But they all WORK and in total he's got one of the richest catalogs in music. This CD belongs right up near the top, too.
Kenny's powerful voice, shining out acoustically and electrically through the decades of his music, has never changed. Now, it's amplified through Blue Sky Riders - make no mistake, Georgia and Gary are supremely talented singers and players - and I am certain he takes pride in this new experience, as he has in his previous musical journeys. What a career, and we are so blessed to have the opportunity to enjoy fresh songs through this new incarnation. Gushing?? You bet! The CD is simply spectacular. Last thing. This new trio reminds me very much of Art Garfunkel's trio CD from several years ago, Everything Waits to be Noticed, with the fantastic Maia Sharp and Buddy Mondlock. It is 5+stars as well. Three voices making music that sounds like a whole choir! Please consider that record as well, if you like a familiar, unforgettable voice such as Kenny's and Art's, paired with dynamic new voices. Now for comment about BSR's performance in Kent, OH, at the Kent Stage recently. FUN was the operative term. In addition to the beautiful music from this CD, supercharged with the energy the trio and the fine band had in the live setting, I am thrilled to say that Kenny Loggins STILL has it!! At 65, doing the fourth of four shows in a row, with strong voice and so much energy! Then, after the sweaty BSR set, he goes out and gives 90 more minutes of brilliance, showcasing his spectacular career and featuring sweet new arrangements of his best-known songs. And Kenny seems so humble while talking about Grammy awards and co-writing experiences with other superstars. Gary and Georgia are also multi-award winners, of course, and I was so struck by the shared enthusiasm on the stage while singing the songs. GREAT CD, even better live, if you can see them!!
I love Blue Sky Riders "Finally Home". Everyone I know who has heard it loves it. There will almost certainly be some who don't. For example, you may be the type of person for whom the idea of three world-class songwriters inspiring and challenging each other to new heights is not compelling. Or let's just say you don't like the thought of melodies that walk around with you all day, whether you are listening to them or not. Maybe you are not moved by harmonies so intricate, and so perfect they actually give you goose bumps. Or maybe you are uncomfortable with the ethos of this album, in fact the guiding principle of this band: the thought that it is never too late to make something spectacular happen in your life. Those people may not love "Finally Home". To the other 95 percent of you I think this CD will be the most wonderful, unexpected musical gift you have had in a long time.
To those who have taken the time to read this review, I can only say thank you. To those who read this review and decide to give Blue Sky Riders "Finally Home" a shot, I can only say, you're welcome.