Published on November 1st, 2020 | by Justin G.
Ramos: My Many Sides (Frontiers, 2020)
Guitarist and songwriter Josh Ramos is no stranger to the melodic rock scene, having a long and memorable career with bands like The Storm, Hardline and Two Fires. He’s never released a solo album before though, until this year’s My Many Sides.
On his debut solo outing, Ramos has enlisted the services of several talented vocalists. Joe Retta (Heaven & Earth) handles vocals for a third of the songs on My Many Sides, but the album also sees contributions from Terry Ilous (XYZ), Danny Vaughn (Tyketto), Tony Harnell (Starbreaker, ex-TNT), Harry Hess (Harem Scarem), Eric Martin (Mr. Big), John Bisaha (The Babys) and Tony Mills (ex-Shy, ex-TNT).
Musically, the album is a “middle of the road” melodic rock album with a heavy blues influence. Smooth, but not overly catchy, and a good match for Retta’s voice in particular. Of course a great singer can elevate a good song, and that’s what Danny Vaughn does for “Blameless Blue,” and what Tony Harnell does with “Immortal.” And closing the album with one of Tony Mills’ final performances on “I’m Only Human” was a bittersweet touch.
While My Many Sides has a few memorable moments, the album itself is fairly average. Ramos’ guitar work is soulful and the vocalists all get the job done, but the songwriting is so middle of the road that only the songs with truly great singers stand out from the rest of the album. It has the benefit of being more authentic than some of the Frontiers projects that are cranked out each year, but it’s just not that interesting. It’s at least worth a spin to hear these singers take on new material, but this one gets a “try before you buy” recommendation.
Summary: Solid performances, but a mostly forgettable album.