Published on August 28th, 2016 | by Justin G.
Jace Pawlak: Promise
Just one year after independently releasing his very laid-back (and very enjoyable) 2015 album Perspective, singer/songwriter/multi-instrumentalist Jace Pawlak is back in a melodic rock frame of mind with a new album on the Kivel label, titled Promise. Jace is once again joined by his father Dennis on guitar/backing vocals and his brother Trevor on guitar. Promise also features lead vocals by Pete Lents on two songs and guest keyboards by Eric Ragno, and was produced by Bombay Black’s Ty Sims, who recently produced House of Lords’ Indestructible.
As fun as it was to hear Pawlak move into poppier territory on Perspective, Promise has him back to doing what he does best – writing and performing smooth, polished melodic rock songs with impeccable vocal harmonies. You can tell at first listen that this guy was raised on bands like Night Ranger, Nelson and Bad English; that era when rock was catchy, accessible and impossible not to sing along with. Jace polishes the rough edges even smoother here, so Promise is all lush harmonies and smooth melodies. Leadoff track “Tonight is Everything” has a fantastic chorus, and sounds like something Bryan Adams and Richard Marx would have fought to record back in 1989. So does “”Waiting.” “Before You Run” could easily be a Nelson song, and the rest of Promise has that classic feel as well, especially the more rocking “Late on Loving You” and “Too Late.”
This is smooth, melodic AOR done very, very well. Pawlak continues to prove why he’s one of the melodic rock world’s best kept songwriting secrets, and he’s a terrific performer as well. I don’t think it’s possible to overstate just how effective the vocal harmonies on this album are. Pawlak and company simply refuse to let your attention wander when this album is spinning.
If you like your melodic rock on the lighter end of the spectrum, whether that’s classic bands like Night Ranger, Bad English and Nelson or more recent artists like Vega, Find Me and First Signal, Promise is an album that’s absolutely worth taking a chance on.
Disclosure: Jace is a friend, and I contributed to the Kickstarter campaign for this album, so I’m not exactly an unbiased reviewer here. Check the video clip below though, and judge for yourself if I’ve steered you wrong.
Summary: Smooth melodic rock doesn't get much better than this, at least on this side of the Atlantic.