Saturday, September 21, 2013

403 of 1001 Albums: Steve Winewood's Arc of a Diver

Steve Winwood is a hugely talented guy. As a former member of several acts including, Traffic, before this album, he is an all around great instrumentalist and vocalist. He has that very 70's merging 80's sound. It's a bit of rock and something else. It's dated, but it sounds very smooth and stylish to still listen to. The jazzy quality I can appreciate on the album.

History: Steve Winwood released his second album and combined every bit of talent he was capable of to do it. He wrote all his own songs, he played the instruments and did the vocals. Now that is a lot, and he did it all on his own farm where he has a studio. This album would also be his breakthrough solo. It reached number three on the charts and got him commercially known.

Vocals: Steve Winwood has vocals that do sound very fitting to the 80's niche, but it is talented and has a great range. It just doesn't sound 100% unique. I might not be able to pick him out in a lineup of other artists from that time. I did enjoy how his vocals aligned with the tone of the music though, and thought it added to the instrumentals. With Winwood being the one to helm the whole album it makes sense that everything matches as well as it does since he has all the say so on how it is performed. Winwood even does his own backing vocals.

Instrumentals. What is more impressive to me than anything though are the instrumentals. This guy seems to be able to play almost anything. He plays the synthesizers, piano, acoustic and electric guitars, drums, bass and other percussion. That is a huge range of different types of abilities he has. That has to be some sort of genius. I think had a band been playing the instruments instead then it would have made the album a lot less special and interesting to listen to.

Recording: It is a very dated album to the times, but I do like the sounds of the 70's and 80's. I don't think it's a negative to sound like you're music is straight from then. The guy even engineered and mixed his own music. The guy has his own studio to do all this in. With all this ability it shows he has to be one of the most gifted guys in music. I can't say that it is something I would listen to regularly, but he has a talent for many different elements.

If you're listening to Arc of a Diver your enjoyment shouldn't just depend on how the music sounds to you. There is so much going on in the album from the recording, the instruments, to the vocals, and the songwriting, that show this guy has multi-talent. He is what many musicians still wish they could be and do it well.

Rating 7 of 10.

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