Big Life – Big Life [2011]

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This new project, Big Life is a joint venture and brainchild of two much respected players in the melodic rock field, from the south of England, Steve Newman (Newman) and ex-Praying Mantis frontman, Mark Thompson-Smith.
Steve Newman’s reputation in the Melodic Rock circuit is impressive – with eight immense Newman albums released in the last decade, the latest being the highly acclaimed ‘The Art Of Balance’. Add to this his work on other albums with artists such as Atlantic, Steve Overland, Eden, AOR Project, Frozen Rain, Far Cry, Grand Illusion and Phenomena.

Mark Thompson-Smith re-emerges from the shadows after a lengthy period out of the limelight to more than demonstrate that time has not dulled his impressive vocal powers. Best known as the singer with Praying Mantis in the early 90’s and as guest vocalist in The Sweet in 2005, he has also featured as frontman for various 80’s UK bands such as Idol Rich featuring Nick Burr (Lionsheart), Touche featuring Mark and Steve Owers (After Hours, Lionsheart) and Flight 19, with former Praying Mantis producer and keyboardist Gary Flounders, featured on the Metal For Muthas II compilation.

When he was part of Praying Mantis, Mark met Steve and although a proposed link up band wise did not materialize with Mark ‘retiring from the music business’ to pursue a different career, they became firm friends with Mark lending an ear to Steve’s songs and helping with the occasional backing vocals on the constant stream of excellent Newman albums.

In 2005, after a successful tour of Sweden with The Sweet, Mark renewed his passion for singing further and so he sought out Steve to embark on a brand new musical adventure… BIG LIFE.
The guys are joined by Rob McEwen, the outstanding drumming talent on the last 3 Newman albums, and all recordings have taken place at Steve’s own studio ‘The Blue Room’ in England where he also produced and engineered the album. After listening through a couple of times it became quickly apparent to me that this is one the best things Steve’s ever done as a producer and musician.

The album does have elements from his own band, but with more classic ’80s elements, and the contribution of Thompson-Smith (and his vocal arrangements) enhances this album to the top.
Just one listen of ‘Big Life’ is enough to get into your head. Most of the songs have huge melodic riffs, melting soloing, and instantly catchy choruses. Newman has the recipe for cooking up great melodic rock numbers, and in Thompson-Smith has found the perfect foil for his blend of music. Newman has been fairly prolific over the years, and with Thompson-Smith appearing from the wilderness of rock, Big Life I hope will be aptly named as this album deserves to be huge for the pair of them

I’ve really enjoyed playing this album, again and again, sure there’s a lot of ballad material but there is rock too and if you liked these guys stuff before, then you for sure, you’re gonna love this one too!
Hopefully with a Big Life ahead!

Band Members
Steve Newman – Vocals, Guitar, Bass, Keyboards
Mark Thompson-Smith – Vocals
Rob McEwen – Drums

Tracks
1. Dying Day
2. Close To You
3. Better Man
4. Calling
5. I’ll Still Be Here
6. Feel Alive
7. Deep Water
8. At The End Of My Rainbow
9. Leaves
10. Stop In Time
11. Takin’ Me Down
12. Nothing Without You
13. Special Relationship (bonus track)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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