Chuck Wright - Chuck Wright's Sheltering Sky
by Kevin Wierzbicki
Wright has been a sideman for everyone from Alice Cooper to Slash to Gregg Allman but the bassist is perhaps best known for his work as a member of Quiet Riot. He's getting quite a reputation as an activist too; he's recently organized a benefit for Ukrainian war refugees at the infamous Los Angeles club Whisky a Go-Go and this album contains the anti-war cut "Throwin' Stones." The song, featuring singer Joe Retta, is a heavy, percolating blues rocker with potent lyrics that harkens back to the era of Vietnam War protest songs. Wright is not a singer so he has numerous guest vocalists here; Whitney Tai lends her dulcet tones to the prog metal of "Army of Me" (a Bjork song), to the reflective "Giving up the Ghost" and to the big breathy number "Time Waits for No One." Former Journey vocalist Jeff Scott Soto handles the funk rock of "It Never Fails" and David Victor does an excellent job, as does the rest of the band, with the Jesse Colin Young chestnut "Darkness Darkness." Wright plays acoustic guitar, 12-string acoustic guitar, fretless and octave bass, keyboards, sitar and even koto and there are a few instrumentals here where his work shines through, like on the jazzy and sedate "Farewell Horizon" and two versions of "The Weight of Silence" that bookend the album, both of which feature Derek Sherinian on keys (and Theremin on the second version) and Wright plucking an amazing rhythm on fretless bass. A fine showing for a debut album.