10,000 Light Years Ago
John Lodge, the Moody Blues singer, songwriter and bassist, has released his second (and his first since 1977's Natural Avenue) solo album 10,000 Light Years Ago, an eight song mélange brimming with style, nostalgia and versatility. The distinctive guitar talents of Chris Spedding, along with Moody Blues touring keyboardist Alan Hewitt and drummer Gordon Marshall, provide the backbone of a very solid album. I attended the album’s U.S. record release party at the legendary Joe’s Pub in New York City. It was played in its entirety and Lodge shared tales of his life. He was moved by the intimate crowd’s reaction to the music, took to audience questions with self-depricating humor, and was nearly brought to tears by video greetings from former Moody Blues mates Mike Pinder and Ray Thomas.
Lodge’s deep vocal drives the progressive opener “In My Mind,” while the more mainstream “Those Days In Birmingham” relates the bassist’s early life and his love for early rock and roll. At the release party, Lodge said he actually saw Buddy Holly when he was 13 and this song reveals the man’s love for his influences. “Simply Magic” is an acoustic guitar-based ballad Lodge wrote for his grandson, a tune he seemed very connected to. He even played a snippet of it live at the party. This is one that both Pinder (playing Mellotron) and Thomas (on ‘C’ flute and bass flute) appear on — something the Moody Blues fans at Joe’s Pub took to with relish and deep applause.
“Love Passed Me By” features Mike Piggott’s violin in a 1920s-like love song, while “Lose Your Love” is a more serious piano ballad, very sad actually, with Lodge talking through the lyric, sounding very much like Roger Waters. Spedding’s bends lend just the right touch of melancholy to this one. The title track ends the CD. It’s a mini prog epic with a spoken word intro very much in the style of the Moody Blues and a mid-tempo beat that captures a theme what Lodge describes as a biographical account of where he’s been and where he is looking forward to going. With a possible solo tour behind 10,000 Light Years Ago after the Moody Blues complete their 2015 tour, John Lodge is intent on being around for the immediate future and beyond.
~ Ralph Greco, Jr.