Album review – JIMI JAMISON “Never Too Late”

Jimi Jamison cover(I wrote this review in November 2012 for Hard Rock Nights. I’m reposting it now in memory of Jimi Jamison. Rest in peace, Jimi. I’m going to miss that voice.)

“Never Too Late” has everything a great melodic rock album needs: rock-solid musicianship, well-written tunes with great melodies, lyrics with heart and soul, and above all a singer with amazing pipes. Some voices just make you feel good when you listen to them, and Jimi Jamison (former lead-singer of Target, Cobra and most recently Survivor) is blessed with exactly that kind of voice. It’s a voice that quite simply puts a bit of gold-dust on everything it touches – it’s powerful and strong, passionate and rich, and has just the right hint of grit that makes it perfect for rock’n’roll.

This album is Jamison’s third solo effort, and he worked closely with Swedish producer and songwriter Erik Mårtensson (who also plays guitar on the album) to put it together. The result is a stellar collection of tracks with a sound that is beautifully polished and lush, and also has a real warmth and glow to it.

“Everybody’s Got A Broken Heart” turns it on right from the start:  it’s a terrific, upbeat track that just soars on the wings of Jamison’s voice. It’s followed by “The Great Unknown”, another feel-good track with some great guitar work, and “Never Too Late”, a tune that literally made shivers run up and down my spine with its high-flying chorus.jimijamison

This is a strong album all the way through, and the ballads are all standouts. “I Can’t Turn Back” is shot through with so much sadness and passion in the vocals, and on “The Air I Breathe” Jamison puts a vulnerable tremble into the vocals that give this love-song an extra bristle of true emotion and honesty. Another ballad-beauty is the mournful “Heaven Call Your Name” with the guitars and the organ (why don’t more rock-albums feature organs?) giving it a lot of soul.

Two other standouts are “Street Survivor”, a harder rocking track with the synth giving it a big 80s punch and some definite fighting spirit, and “Not Tonight” which is a powerful better-off-without-you song.

“Never Too Late” is a polished, finely crafted work of melodic rock excellence. The musicianship is impeccable, but Jamison’s voice is the true star here. There’s just such a powerfully positive vibe to this album that you can’t help but feel better. If you’re looking for some melodic rock to pick you up on a bad day, or make a good day better, this album is the right prescription.

Jimi Jamison’s official web-page / Facebook / Twitter.

The lineup:

  • Jimi Jamison – lead vocals
  • Erik Mårtensson – lead & rhythm guitar, bass, keyboards & backing vocals
  • Magnus Ulfstedt – drums
  • Jonas Öijvall – Hammond B3, piano & analog synthesizers
  • Magnus Henriksson – lead guitar on “Street Survivor” & “Heaven Call Your Name”
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