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New Frontier - 1988 New Frontier



ARTIST: New Frontier
ALBUM: New Frontier
LABEL: Mika
SERIAL: 835 695-1 (LP), 835 695-2 (CD)
YEAR: 1988

COUNTRY OF ORIGIN:

LINEUP: Monty Byrom - vocals, guitars * David Neuhauser - piano, organ, synthesizers * Glenn Letsch - bass * Marc Nelson - drums

TRACK LISTING: 01 Under Fire * 02 American Dream * 03 Love Is Stronger Than The Heart * 04 Change For The Better * 05 Standing In My Tears * 06 Lonesome Blues * 07 I Think About You * 08 Motel Rain * 09 Burning Page * 10 Riverboat Man


Background
For mainman Monty Byrom, New Frontier represents life after his stint with Billy Satellite. The band contained a few other San Francisco members including Gamma bassist Glenn Letsch. New Frontier is definitely standing at the corridor of melodic rock and AOR, with lots of infectious songs, with Monty's typical trademark guitar and impassioned vocals, while Neuhauser provides the polish. The mostly Richie Zito production guarantees this album at least some respectability on that side of things, while Phil Kaffel (ref Taxxi) produces three of the tracks. Overall the sound is smooth, but slightly rough-house in an AOR sort of way (I hope that makes sense to some of you). A bit like 38 Special when you compare them with some of their southern counterparts.


The Songs
For me personally, I love most of these songs. Easy on the ear, and a nice middle ground between Byrom's earlier work, and where he would eventually take his musical direction. In ways there's bits of Nelson, Restless Heart, and of course the inevitable comparison to Billy Satellite. The opening trio of 'Under Fire', 'American Dream' and the country rock of 'Love Is Stronger Than The Heart' all echo these comparisons. 'Change For The Better' has a guitar strut which former B.S bandmate Danny Chauncey could easily slide into, and he could do likewise on the sassy 'Lonesome Blues'. There's a certain commercialness with 'I Think About You' which just about borders on throwaway, but as it's a Michael Bolton and Martin Briley co-write, who am I to say? Following on is 'Motel Rain' a contender for one of those steamy MTV video's I reckon.. 'Burning The Page' is a great AOR tune which probably could benefit from a heavier mix, while the blues returns on the album closer 'Riverboat Man', a traditional workout in true delta fashion!


In Summary
Was a pity then that New Frontier didn't hang around for long unfortunately. Byrom and Neuhauser headed off to greener pastures in Nashville where they formed the successful country rock act Big House. Meanwhile Letsch hooked up with Gamma singer Davey Pattison and joined forces in Robin Trower's band.


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Comments
#1 | rostoned on November 26 2009 12:37:45
George which were the songs produced by Kaffel? My german LP doesn't have the inner credits....Angry
#2 | gdazegod on November 26 2009 12:43:28
i don't have the Lp anymore mate. I think I can find out for you though. Give me a moment..
#3 | rostoned on November 26 2009 21:05:06
Regarding extra musicians I found out that sessioners Kim Bullard and Arthur Barrow play keyboard and synthesizers on the album and the ever reclusive Tommy Funderburk is on backing vox. George if you find other extra players any info is welcomed.

On the songwriting side the single 'Under Fire' is a cowrite with Bernie Taupin and Martin Page.
#4 | gdazegod on November 26 2009 23:09:21
Yep, Monty mentioned 'Under Fire' on his website, and his involvement with Bernie Taupin. He also talks about his involvement with Barbra Streisand! believe it or not!
#5 | reyno-roxx on November 27 2009 22:09:29
'Lonesome Blues', 'Motel Rain' and 'Riverboat Man' were the songs produced by Phil Kaffel.
Additional musicians: Bullard, Barrow, Brent Mydland, Martin Page and Richie Zito play keyboards, Richie Zito plays additional guitar, drums from John Keane, sax by Larry Williams, perscussion by Paulinho Da Costa and mandolin/violin/dobroe from David Lindley.
Backing vocals include Mr Funderburk, Timothy B Schmidt and the three Waters girls.

Streisand, according to Monty, smelt like a rose.....! See Rock Candy reissue of Billy Satellite CD for further details on that one!
#6 | super80boy on June 14 2014 14:55:42
Some blues, AOR and pop makes for an interesting mix. I liked The lead off 'Under Fire', 'Change For The Better', 'I Think About You' and 'Burning The Page'.
#7 | richardb on January 03 2016 12:47:12
I remember being disappointed with this LP although it starts promisingly enough with 'Under fire'. A bit of a mixed bag really, sounds like his keeping his musical options open methinks. It's redeemed by the strength of Monty Byrom's vocal delivery and probably the main reason I still have it my collection.
 
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