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Dennis DeYoung: 26 East Vol. 1
Dennis DeYoung - 26 East Vol. 1 Album Art

Dennis DeYoung: 26 East Vol. 1

AOR Melodic Rock
5.0/5.0

As the as the saying goes, Dennis DeYoung needs little introduction. DeYoung was the founding member of pop prog rock band Styx, and continues to keep his contribution to the band alive through his Dennis DeYoung And The Music of STYX shows. He's also a prolific songwriter having written for film, television, and stage. And, hailing from the south side of Chicago, DeYoung is a huge White Sox baseball fan. (I remember Comiskey.) But Dennis DeYoung has not released a studio album in better than 10 years.

Dennis DeYoung - Click For Larger Image

Dennis DeYoung

Now, with the encouragement and songwriting contributions of fellow Chicagoan Jim Peterik, DeYoung offers the first of what may be his last albums, 26 East Vol. 1. The title is a reference to the address of where he grew up in the South Side, with childhood friends and also founding Styx members, John and Chuck Panozzo living across the street. Peterik and DeYoung recently collaborated on the former's World Stage album, Winds Of Change in 2019.

Musically, DeYoung steers little from his long-serving musical roots: synth-charged melodic pop prog rock infused with symphonic texture, bold melodies, notable rock groove, soaring guitar solos, and lush vocal arrangements. To say the album has Styx-like references is not an abomination, but something of an accuracy: you can't outrun your past. The wild card is Peterik's singular and deft ability to create catchy AOR melodic hard rock tunes. It's a combination as favorable as chocolate and peanut butter, a shot and beer.

Tuning into some songs, for some strong synth rockers in an AOR wrapper listen for East Of Midnight, the lush and expansive A Kingdom Ablaze, or Damn That Dream. But my personal favorite is With All Due Respect, a brisk and catchy rocker that skewers American culture, media, and politics. AOR anthems rise with Run For The Roses and The Promise Of This Land, which has a strong Gospel vibe in the concluding vocal and lyrical finish. Then there's the symphonic and synth tear-jerker ballad of love gone wrong, You My Love. So sad. Finally, DeYoung hooks up with Julian Lennon for the retrospective and inspiring To The Good Old Days, a delightful AOR ballad with a strong piano line and exceptional vocal harmony from the duo.

All in all, Dennis DeYoung's 26 East Vol. 1 is a fine and entertaining album of AOR melodic rock thanks to some exceptional musicianchip and songwriting. Volume 2 is looking to be pretty great. Easily recommended.



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The Bottom Line

Dennis DeYoung's 26 East Vol. 1 is a fine and entertaining album of AOR melodic rock thanks to some exceptional musicianchip and songwriting. Volume 2 is looking to be pretty great. Easily recommended.

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