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ROBIN MCAULEY – ALIVE album review

ByTaylor T Carlson

Feb 28, 2023

Robin McAuley released the ALIVE album on February 17, 2023.

Robin McAuley has one of the greatest voices in the world of music, something that’s been true for over four decades. From his early genesis with bands like Far Corporation and Grand Prix to his biggest mainstream success with Michael Schenker in the McAuley Schenker Group, he’s a man who seldom rests or takes time off from the live stage. He’s rocked the stage in Las Vegas with RAIDING THE ROCK VAULT, performing spirted renditions of some of classic rock’s biggest hits, and in more recent years, has released some fantastic melodic rock solo efforts along with work with the supergroup Black Swan, featuring classic Dokken bassist Jeff Pilson and Winger guitarist Reb Beach; that band’s sophomore effort from last year even made my Best of the Year list. Did I mention he’s even reunited with Michael Schenker a few times? Truly, this guy doesn’t get too many days off!

A few years back we got an impressive solo record from Mr. McAuley called STANDING ON THE EDGE, showing that this man (who just turned 70, believe it or not!) is still at the top of his game in terms of vocals. While this rock fan would’ve been content just to see him rocking the stage and the studio with Black Swan, imagine my delight when I heard his last solo effort would be getting a follow-up!

ALIVE reunites McAuley with the musicians he played on for STANDING ON THE EDGE, including guitarist Andrea Seveso, bassist Alessandro Del Vecchio, and drummer Nicholas Papapicco. What truly amazes me about Mr. McAuley is the crazed schedule he so effortlessly seems to handle. Constantly on the road and in the studio with who knows how many acts (I’ll be catching him with RAIDING THE ROCK VAULT for a one-off performance on March 11), his material doesn’t disappoint.

Does lightning strike again for the vocalist? We’re not too far into 2023 yet, but I can already say with all sincerity that ALIVE is one of my favorite albums of the year so far, and odds are good it’ll land on my Best of the Year list when the year draws to a close. We could’ve gotten a clone of STANDING ON THE EDGE and I probably would’ve been happy, but for the follow-up effort, McAuley isn’t afraid to mix things up, and I do mean that in the best of ways. The biggest difference between ALIVE and its predecessor is that it’s a considerably harder rocking effort. EDGE was much more of a melodic/AOR affair, though a solid enough one. ALIVE is stronger than its predecessor with its emphasis on a hard rock sound, but the melodic rock elements aren’t left by the wayside either. This release puts the guitars front and center, enhancing Robin’s performance without ever upstaging him. There are fast-paced rockers, but slower tracks are still found here as well. Just the same, even those are more guitar driven than the content of the last solo release from Mr. McAuley.

ALIVE is certainly that. Robin McAuley has a voice unrivaled in the music world, and that we’re still hearing him rock those pipes at age 70 is truly remarkable. Even more amazing is the fact that his vocals haven’t degraded the way many of his contemporaries have. Let’s hope there’s a tour to promote ALIVE, because it’s some of Mr. McAuley’s finest work, or if nothing else, a Black Swan tour.

The world needs to hear this guy sing.

By Taylor T Carlson

Taylor T Carlson Assistant Editor/Senior Staff Writer Taylor T. Carlson was born August 17, 1984, and has called the Vegas Valley home his entire life. A die-hard fan of classic rock and metal music, Taylor has been writing album and concert reviews since he was 16 years old, and continues to do so, having done well over 1,000 reviews. He is also a fan of video gaming and cinema, and has reviewed a number of games and films as well, old and new alike. His thorough and honest (some would say brutally honest) reviewing style has won him the respect of hundreds of music fans and musicians alike, both local and abroad, and the ire of just as many others. Despite being one of the youngest attendees at classic hard rock/metal shows around Vegas, he is also one of the most knowledgeable, having gained the unofficial nickname of “The Eddie Trunk of Las Vegas.” In addition to reviews, Taylor has written and self-published three books on classic hard rock bands, and is a regular participant in rock and roll trivia contests. Taylor also holds a masters degree in special education from the University of Nevada Las Vegas (UNLV), and has appeared on the hit History Channel television series Pawn Stars. His dream is to be able to one day make a living from writing music books and reviews.

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