Fly Like An Eagle:
An All-Star Tribute To Steve Miller Band

Various Artists

A veteran at producing and playing on tribute albums, former Yes guitarist Billy Sherwood has surrounded himself with some of the very best progressive rock musicians in the world. This time, he’s brought some of the best on board for Fly Like An Eagle: An All-Star Tribute To Steve Miller Band.

Sherwood plays pretty much everything except where his extra special guests are featured, and it all starts with a note-for-note read of “Take The Money And Run,” with former yes keyboardist Tony Kaye providing a strong Hammond organ and Colin Moulding of XTC adding his vocals. John Parr, known for his 1985 hit “St. Elmo’s Fire,” lends a rough sounding vocal to “Abracadabra” with none other than Rick Wakeman playing two distinct keyboard leads.

“Jet Airliner” has Asia singer John Wetton on a very unWetton-like vocal and Billy Idol guitarist Steve Stevens playing the exact guitar riff we know from Miller’s version, though the former’s leads are indeed blistering. What current Yes keyboardist Geoff Downes brings to “Swingtown” does turn the song to the left of what we are used to. Wishbone Ash’s Martin Turner handles the vocals perfectly here. On “Winter Time,” there’s a soft tickling from original Yes guitarist Peter Banks (he passed away in March 2013) throughout and Curved Air’s Sonja Kristina provides a truly haunting vocal on a slower version of this pretty song.

John Wesley’s vocal and guitar on “The Joker,” showcases his decidedly sexy edge with a solid rocking and fun cover filled with lots of personality. “Jungle Love” sees a strong-as-you’d-expect Joe Lynn Turner vocal and Deep Purple guitarist Steve Morse reversing the song’s usual riff with his own accelerated leads at the end. Sherwood’s organ and bass are especially well played on this one. An icy cool strut and descending trickles open and stay with a heavy “Space Cowboy,” with Dream Theater keyboardist Jordan Rudess running around this funky version featuring Survivor’s Jimi Jamison on vocals. Gong guitarist Steve Hillage positively wails on “Rock'n Me,” but the CD ends with a take of “Fly Like An Eagle” that even the echoed flute playing from Joel Vandoogenbroeck can’t save (Nektar and Downes join in too).

Overall, the playing is top-notch with maybe two and half interesting covers that could be considered truly different. With this much talent and Sherwood behind it, I would have truly loved to have heard these great classic songs turned inside out and presented in wholly different ways. On that note, Fly Like An Eagle: An All-Star Tribute To Steve Miller Band doesn’t break much new ground.

~ Ralph Greco, Jr.

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