He's back. Even though his band broke up underneath him, this man has gotten right back out there with a solo album before our tear-soaked tissues could dry up. Pete Stewart is back. Some may know him from the late hard rock band Grammatrain which broke up last fall (hence the tear-soaked tissues). But Pete didn't let that stop him. Only a month or two after the break-up, Pete ventured into the studio with dc Talk's Michael Tait producing, to record his first solo project on Forefront Records.
To be honest, when I first heard Stewart's solo material, I was disappointed and unimpressed. However, the real revelation of its quality came when I cranked up the volume on this baby. And let me reassure you, it rocks. But I can't help but compare Stewart's solo material to Grammatrain. I'm still a big fan of their debut record, Lonely House, which remains a force to be reckoned with. I hear songs like "Worship Song" from Pete's new album and I'm riddled with disappointment. Although it's a nice tune spiritually, musically it doesn't do a thing for me. I was left thinking he can't do ballads when I first heard this tune. That is, I felt that way until I heard the album's closing cut, "Waiting For The Son." On that song, Pete successfully dishes out a plate of ballad goodness. It's the kind of tune that makes you really think about your walk with Christ.
But the ultimate highlight on this project isn't the duet with Michael Tait in "Uphill Battle" (which is fantastic and comes in as a very close second), but is the rocker "Don't Underestimate Me." It's a pop/rock song that sort of carries a "Grammatrain Lite" sort of vibe. An instant favorite.
This album, when I first heard it, didn't seem all too spectacular, but after multiple listens, this project has grown on me and is working its way into my daily CD rotation. It's still not Grammatrain and is still somewhat of a tease to hear Stewart's vocals gracing a completely different kind of musical backdrop. However, it remains a unique, new release worth a listen when it streets on March 23.- Review date: 2/14/99, written by John DiBiase
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