Jon Butcher – Pictures From The Front [1989]

fwefewfCountry USA          

Style AOR

Rating 85/100

Band Members Jon Butcher – Guitar,Lead,Backing Vocals, Thom Gimbel – Keyboards,Guitar,Backing Vocals, Jamie Carter,Jamie Hunting – Bass, Ronnie Lee Sage – Drums,Percussion,Backing Vocals, Glen Ballard – Additional Keyboards, Jamie Carter,Timothy B. Schmit – Backing Vocals

Tracks 01. I’m Only Dreaming, 02. Might As Well Be Free, 03. Live Or Die, 04. 99 (May Be All You Need), 05. Beating Drum, 06. The Mission, 07. Send Me Somebody, 08. Division Street, 09. Come And Get It, 10. Waiting For A Miracle

Profile Guitarist, singer & songwriter JON BUTCHER born in Alaska, but he started making some noise in the Boston area at the beginning of the eighties. His six-string style was often compared to Jimi Hendrix, not only for his playing, but also for being a young afro-american musician naming his group Axis, a reference to a Hendrix album title. However, at the middle of the decade Butcher was signed by Capitol and he and the label decided to change the musical approach to the polished Melodic Rock so in vogue in the US.

By the time of this “Pictures From The Front” – Butcher’s fifth album and the third for Capitol – there was not traces of Hendrix, not even on the moniker, as it was released under the ‘Jon Butcher’ name. Although not ‘strictly’ Melodic Rock (as it fuses some bluesy overtones) “Pictures From The Front” is a rock album with a strong AOR feel as well mainly due to the glossy production courtesy of the team Spencer Proffer (Cheap Trick, Heart, Eddie Money) and Glenn Ballard (Jack Wagner, Aerosmith, Toto) who also arranged the whole thing and co-wrote some songs.

The new Jon Butcher band for this album – and successful tours to come – included talented bassist Jaimie Carter, solid drummer Ronnie Lee Sage and complete musician Thom Gimbel (later in Foreigner) who provides a solid foundation of keyboards and rhythm guitars. Butcher sings with emotion and style (sometimes remembering Robin Trower) but what shines on this record is his terrific, tasteful guitar playing sporting a monster typical ’80s tone and a lot of high gain in his set-up sound. 

All songs are good, being my favorites the urgent, Foreigner-like “Might As Well Be Free” driven by sharp riffs, a thunderous rhythm section and crowned by a crazy solo, and the anthemic “Live Or Die”, recalling Kane Roberts solo albums. Out of print and not so-easy-to-find in nowdays…

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Jon Butcher - Pictures From The Front [1989], 10.0 out of 10 based on 2 ratings
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