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Progressive Rock CD Reviews

Steve Howe's Remedy


Review by Steve Alspach

After all these years Steve Howe is still exploring new territories or, at least, foraging in styles that interest him. Needless to say, this covers a lot of ground, but Steve, along with sons Virgil on keyboards and Dylan on drums, and with Gilad Atzmon on woodwinds and Derrick Taylor on bass, have joined together for a formidable ensemble that are willing to tackle any style that comes their way.

This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2003 Year Book Volume 1 at

Track by Track Review
Across The Cobblestone
Perhaps the most Yes-sounding track on the CD, this gets the project off to a good start. This is one of three vocal songs on this album.
Bee Sting
Howe runs through a number of effects on this one, but his signature dive-bomb notes are throughout this one. The other musicians fill in competently, but they do little more than provide a background to let Steve flex his chops.
Steve goes jazz! A 7-piece horn section, scored by longtime Yes collaborator Andrew Jackman, add punch to this piece that has some nice swing to it.
Where I Belong
Howe does his "chicken-pickin'" style of guitar playing on this one, and also uses the dobro and an acoustic guitar (curiously underused on this album) as well.
Whiskey Hill
This is a short, 2-minute rocker. Howe uses a dobro to give this one a country-rock feel. There's not much to the melody here, just a good excuse to blow out some jams.
The Chariot of Gold
The opening notes almost sound like the riff to "Messin' with the Kid," especially with the saxophones. Howe's playing on this is very smooth, with arced notes in one spot, simple sixteenth-notes in others.
Howe uses a Steinberger 6-string with a Korg tremolo effect on this solo piece. One can almost hear Roy Orbison singing on this one.
Pacific Haze
This is another jazz number. The horn section from Westwinds appears here as well, and Steve stretches into a west coast jazz mode with octave-lead lines, swing, and some fast modal playing.
Load Off My Mind
This is a bit of a surprising track. Howe sounds nothing like himself on vocals, and the song is a shuffling rock rhythm with some bluesy feel to it.
Hecla Lava
This is an exploratory piece. Howe runs a Gibson ES175D through a delay effect for a multi-layered feel, but you get the sense that this is an improvisational piece.
Smoke Silver
This song flits back and forth between a high-tempo rock piece and a more shuffling 12-to-the-bar piece.
Inside Out Muse
This song is what you might call minimalist blues: Howe uses the first four bars of the eight-bar blues pattern, but instead of resolving that pattern, he goes back to it again. Dylan Howe starts playing around the beat and pulls off some interesting fills. Gilad Atzmon also gets a clarinet solo as well.
Rising Sun
Another go-for-it instrumental, the piece has a 12/8 feel to it, but Dylan Howe plays drums in a straight 4/4 pattern in places. Atzmon's sax solo is up to the call as well.
Sand Devil
Like Hecla Lava, Howe runs the trusty Gibson through an effects system to give his guitar an almost church-organ sound at the beginning.
The Longing
A guitar-percussion duet here. Howe's guitar sounds a bit like a synthesizer, and Dylan Howe counters with cymbal crescendos and tom-tom fills.
A Drop in the Ocean
A languid, multi-tracked song where Howe coaxes a rather warm feel out of his Fender Strat.
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