RATINGS: A = must own B = buy it C= average D = yawn F = puke

Shooting Star – Into the Night

Rating: B+

Kansas City’s finest, Shooting Star, has returned with a new album titled Into the Night that celebrates the same musical elements which skyrocketed the band to fame in the early 1980s.   Hard rocking guitars, great harmonies, soulful lead vocals, a great rhythm section and memorable keyboard passages are abound on this new album.  The only thing missing from the classic sound is the violin... but, truth be told, until typing this line in this very review, this writer didn’t even miss it!

Oh, before going any further I should probably let you know that Shooting Star is currently offering the album for download free of purchase.  Yes, you read that right.  If you love Shooting Star then just go here: http://www.shootingstarmaniacs.com/#!into-the-night/c2171 and enter the code 1980 and you can download the music for free!  There will be hard copies available later on... but for now, you can get it for nothing! ( Which happens to be in my price-range...).  To pre-order the hard copy CD/DVD combo click here: http://www.shootingstarmaniacs.com/

The band consists of founding member/guitarist/songwriter/producer/vocalist Van McLain, Steve Thomas on drums, Dennis Laffoon on keyboards and newcomer Todd Pettygrove on lead vocals and guitar.  Old timers McLain, Thomas and Laffoon are enjoying the new blood, guts, heart and soul that Pettygrove has brought to the band.  They are not only playing well live, they are rejuvenated creatively, as the songs on Into the Night prove.
The album opens with the rocking “Don’t Waste My Time,”  followed by the melodic rocker “Hole in My Heart.”  Up next is a sweet ballad titled “Let Me Know,” showing just how diverse the band continues to be in 2015.  “This is Our Town” is a song that celebrates both the band and the city of Kansas City as underdogs who never give up.  This track should end up on any future “best of’’ that the band may release.   

The album continues with “Eye of the Needle” which shows the more proggy side of the band, thanks to the opening keyboard riff by Laffoon!  “Time Never Surrenders”  is another heartfelt ballad that drifts kinda-sorta into a classy Toto-type style.  “Never Giving Up On Your Love” would fit nicely onto a previous Shooting Star release, Silent Scream... it is upbeat and fun.  “Bring down the House” is another rocker that is sure to be a ‘live’ favorite.  Many albums stick the weakest track toward the end of an album... a clear sign the writers were out of gas and out of novel ideas...  Not Shooting Star!  The album closer “She Gives Me Chills” is a touching love song with a solid, mature groove.   

McLain and Pettygrove have a chemistry.  Look, this is not the Shooting Star of the 70s with Gary West, or even Keith Mitchell from a decade ago.  Pettygrove can evoke both singers when need be, but he has his own unique voice.  It’s not better nor worse, just different.  Together, the band is firing on all cylinders and have done a great job with these ten songs… and this release is free!  You’re welcome. 

It is wonderful to see a band caring about nothing more than the music in this day and age of quick sales and fleeting fame!  Shooting Star is anything but ‘fleeting’… these flaming chunks of atmospheric ROCK will shine on forever!  

Current Lineup: Van McLain - Lead Guitar/Vocals    Steve Thomas - Drums, Percussion/Vocals     Todd Pettygrove - Lead Vocals/Guitar     Dennis Laffoon - Keyboards/Bass

Download the entire album for free by clicking here: http://www.shootingstarmaniacs.com/#!into-the-night/c2171 and enter the code 1980

Track Listing:
Don’t Waste My Time
Hole in My Heart
Let Me Know
This is Our Town
Eye of the Needle
Time Never Surrenders
Never Giving Up On Your Love
Bring Down the House
She Gives Me Chills

By Jeb Wright