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ALBUM REVIEW - TONY LEWIS, MORE THAN I DARED

Written by  Greg Vitalich

As news coverage understandably focused on the devastating death of legendary guitarist Eddie Van Halen in October, another musicians’ passing was perhaps somewhat overlooked. Tony Lewis, best known as the lead singer and bassist for The Outfield, unexpectedly passed away less than two weeks after EVH.  Interestingly, the Lewis family decided to thank fans by releasing Lewis’ final work, a 6-song solo EP entitled More Than I Dared.  Wow, I had to take a listen - out of both curiosity and to pay tribute to a talented artist I really enjoyed growing up.

Lewis co-founded The Outfield who’s debut album, Play Deep,  was certified triple platinum in 1985.  The band’s top 10 hit “Your Love”, highlighted by Lewis’ memorable opening line, “Josie’s on a vacation far away…”, still reigns as a widely popular 80’s anthem.  Fellow co-founder of The Outfield, John Spinks, passed away in 2014 and Lewis launched his first solo album in 2018.  With the world in pandemic lockdown mode, Lewis spent much of 2020 working in his home recording studio near London self-producing his second solo album. 

Bolstered by lyrics written by Lewis’ wife Carol of 35 years, More Than I Dared features his familiar yet distinct high tenor voice. The album overflows with sweetly simple but uplifting catchy pop rock melodies that will have listeners singing along by the middle of the first chorus.  Just hours after listening to the album for the first time, I already found myself humming along to “Gonna Make You Love Me” while making dinner!  Not surprisingly,  this song is the lead single and was chosen by the Lewis family for an official music video release featuring photos and home video of Lewis. 

My musical tastes lean toward the hard rock spectrum, thus “My World” caught my attention as an edgier melodic up-tempo rocker driven by bright clean electric guitar hooks as Tony defiantly proclaims, “You can’t take my world away…my beautiful beautiful world”.  The album switches gears with “I Feel Alive”, a mellow love song with a beat perfectly suited to inspire listeners to slowly sway their hands in the air.

I was also caught off guard with the surprisingly unique,  “Then There Was You”.  Lewis boldly steps away from his signature style and delivers a tune built around heavy synth and energetic electronic drumbeats.  He crafts a mesmerizing dreamy vocal approach and takes us on a rockin’ techno journey to fondly reminisce about the magical night he met his wife.

Tony Lewis’ death adds an unintended melancholy undertone to this otherwise upbeat album, but it also reminds me of what makes music beautiful. Music helps us both mourn and celebrate – often helping us channel and manage conflicting powerful emotions.  More Than I Dared is a worthy swan song, a celebration of genuine pop rock oozing in catchiness – a special parting musical gift from Lewis to us all.

 

Be well and keep rockin’!    Hunnypot Approved!     Overall Rating:  9.1 out of 10

Artist:  Tony Lewis,  Album: More Than I Dared  Release Date: November 17th, 2020,  Label:  Madison Records

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