John Schlitt, much like Mylon LeFever, was heavily involved in mainstream rock music in the 70s as well as having a severe drug addiction. John was the lead singer of Head East in 1972 and released a total of 5 albums. Of course, his greatest accomplishment in music was when he became the lead singer of Petra from 1986 to 2005. John participated as the lead singer for a total of 14 albums while also releasing two solo projects in the 90s. After 12 years, John Schlitt finally releases his third solo album, entitled The Grafting.
The album's first two songs, "Stand" and "Keep Your Light On," will definitely appease the fans of Petra. "Keep Your Light On" could have actually passed for a single on Petra's last album, Jekyll and Hyde. "Only Men" is a ballad that showcases some of John's great vocal capabilities. The song covers the issue of how all men, despite their accomplishments, cannot compare to Jesus. "The Grafting" is a song that is actually sung in a sort-of story format a la Mark Schulz: "They built their hope upon the future/ Married young, they bought a house, a car, a crib to suit her/ But years would pass without a baby / Until a miracle, a desperate girl reached out/ And love went on and on/ And they found that life came in the grafting".
Later, the album takes a different turn with "First Song," which is one of the weakest tracks on the album, sounding much like most of the hard rock ballads in the early 90s. Listen to Michael Sweet's first solo album a you'll get the idea. "Lord Have Mercy" is a nice praise and worship song that has a nice classical feel to it. "Gravity" has more of a rock edge than the other songs and is likely to be a favorite among Petra fans. "Carry On" is a style never heard before from John Schlitt, and it works very well with his vocal style. It's a very slow song, but is an album highlight as it gives the listener a sense of hope and encouragement.
This album seems to have an inconsistent feel to it as though it was a project worked on over a period of time like Petra's long time producer, John Elephante's Windows of Heaven, which released in 1995. Despite the inconsistencies, John Schlitt has an incredible voice comparable to Steve Perry of Journey. This album is definitely worth a listen. Petra came to an end in 2005, but I believe The Grafting will definitely please fans of Petra who are longing for a substitute.- Review date: 6/1/08, written by Wayne Myatt
Record Label: 4K Records
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