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Peterik re-imagines his hit rock tracks in fresh ways on new album ‘The Songs’

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Jim Peterik, unless you’re a hardcore fan of 1970s bands such as Survivor, 38 Special or The Ides of March, is one of those musicians who you won’t recognize by his name, but you will recognize his music.

In addition to being a performer in, or written for those acts, Peterik has written, or co-written, a ton of rock and pop hits from past generations, songs such as “Hold On Loosely” “Eye of the Tiger” or “Heavy Metal,” among others.

Now, Peterik has taken a batch of those songs and re-wrote them from the ground up in his new album “The Songs.” Even if you’re not familiar with these well-known songs, as some of them were new to me, you’ll find something to enjoy about these interpretations.

While I don’t normally find re-releases or cover albums all that interesting, this album is a special case because not only is Peterik one of the original writers of all these tracks, but, he’s also adding something brand new to them, which if you’ve ever tried writing a song before, you’ll know how that’s not easy, unless perhaps your name is Bob Dylan.

It’s not easy because on one hand, trying to re-create that magic the song possessed the first time is like re-capturing lightning in a bottle, and secondly you can’t change the songs completely or else they’ll end up sounding nothing like the originals.

That being said, there’s songs on this album that hit the mark more than others. Songs like “Heavy Metal” or “Eye of The Tiger” sound just as cool as they did when they first came out, but the songs like “L.A. Goodbye” or “That’s Why God Made the Radio” just don’t move the needle for me as much. They’re not bad interpretations, not at all, but they’re not going to be as remembered on this album as the others.

“Eye of the Tiger,” stands out in particular because it’s basically a bluegrass rendition of the original. It’s got the same feel to it, while bringing a new approach, if that’s possible. Like, if you didn’t know Peterik wrote the original, you might think this is simply a top-notch bluegrass musician putting his stamp on it.

As much as I love the original since I first heard it so many years ago, I’d almost rather hear this version in person if I had the opportunity.

Finally, if that’s not enough for you, Peterik also recently wrote a song dedicated to the victims of the Pulse Nightclub massacre in Orlando titled “We All Bleed Red.”

The song comes across as a little heavy-handed at times, but its intention is in the right place and it has a catchy chorus, too. The fact of the matter is that not every tribute song or album is going to reach the same heights as Bruce Springsteen’s tribute to the Sept. 11 victims, “The Rising.”

“We All Bleed Red” might not have the same lasting impact as “The Rising” but its a noble attempt and the fact that he was able to write, record and release it so soon after the tragedy is a testament to Peterik’s ability as a songwriter.

All and all “The Songs” is an interesting idea that Peterik succeeds on more than he fails. If you’re a fan of classic rock and bluegrass, in particular, give this album a listen.

You can find more on Peterik on his website, Facebook and Twitter.

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