Standing at the Crossroads: Justin Hayward

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Justin Hayward still has that pastoral, Romantic sound for which he and the Moody Blues were so famous.  His 2013 release, Spirits of the Western Sky, helps us realize just what he brought to the Moody Blues—and what the rest of the band brought as well. 

The lead song, “In Your Blue Eyes,” could easily be a Moody Blues song, a good one at that.  It is fleshed out musically and has great lyrics and Hayward’s inimitable voice, everything you would expect from the band itself.  This is true for many of the songs on Spirits of the Western Sky and hardcore fans will have to give this album the attention it deserves.

Moody Blues?

“One Day, Someday,” “On the Road to Love,” and “Captivated by You” have that lushness and the strings we always associate with the Moody Blues. There are times when it sounds like a new album by the whole group, though with something missing from the recipe.  At other times, however, it is clearly a solo effort; that doesn’t mean it’s not good in its own way—just different.  And is different good?

Justin Hayward

Yeah, different can be very good. “The Eastern Sun,” pastoral and Romantic as the rest of the album, is mostly Hayward finger picking and singing.  Not an orchestra in sight. “Lazy Afternoon,” “What You Resist Persists,” and “It’s Cold Outside Your Heart” all have that stripped down sound, unplugged sound and they work very well.  This is a grand little sleeper of an album, and a must for Moody Blues fans.   

There have been rumours of a new Moody Blues album in the works and that would be a welcome treat after all these years, though there are no firm announcements. Keep hoping. In the meantime we have Hayward’s Spirits of the Western Sky, an excellent album by any standard, and a new one by John Lodge as well, due out in March 2015. There is also a live album coming out in August from Hayward in which he mixes some Moody Blues classics with tunes from Spiritsof the Western Sky, Spirits Live.

http://www.justinhayward.com

AH

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