After 10 years as frontman for Petra, John ventured forth with his first solo album, "SHAKE," in 1995. Amidst rumors of his leaving Petra, it was made perfectly clear that John not only would remain with Petra, but that he was fully capable of pursuing a solo career simultaneously – a feat no other lead singer in the Christian industry had ever attempted. John not only made the attempt - but he excelled at it.
Following closely on the heels of "SHAKE," "UNFIT FOR SWINE" made its debut in 1996. A very diverse album musically, "SWINE" showcases John’s versatility as a vocalist, with elements of alternative and modern rock in a surprising blend that rages with intensity and drive.
Now, after more than 10 years, John is back with his third solo album, "THE GRAFTING," released in 2008. "THE GRAFTING" has elements of his rock roots, but concentrates as much on the lyrical content as the music, covering mature-themed topics such as adoption, divorce, third world children, and other issues in today’s adult world.
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NEW CD BUILDS ON FORMER LEAD SINGER’S LEGEND OF ROCK| Posted September 24, 2008
Twelve years have passed since John Schlitt released his last solo recording. Since then, the infamous rocker, best known as Petra’s front man, added a fourth GRAMMY to his collection, was inducted into the Gospel Music Hall of Fame and Hard Rock Café and released six more Petra records before adding his farewell to the band’s final stand in 2005. A mainstay in Christian rock since his debut with Petra in 1986, Schlitt has remained uncharacteristically quiet since the band’s retirement, leaving fans to wonder if his absence from the industry he so carefully helped define was permanent.
Fortunately for fans, a classic rocker rarely stays silent. Picking up where 1996’s Unfit For Swine left off, Schlitt releases The Grafting, soaring through 10 new recordings that service the legacy he began over 20 years ago.
In “Only Men,” Schlitt demonstrates the heavy-hitting power ballad that has become synonymous with his musical persona. “Stand” and “Gravity” pack the heaviest punch, while “Face of God” and modern worship standard “Lord Have Mercy” play less rock more pop, the latter paying homage to Petra Praise, the band’s worship trilogy and biggest commercial success. Surprisingly, the title cut, a laidback acoustic comment on adoption, provides the album’s highlight, shuffling through a refreshingly easy four minutes of melody and lyric.
Produced (and largely written) by his son-in-law and drummer extraordinaire Dan Needham (Katinas, Steven Curtis Chapman), The Grafting’s tracks are sonically cogent. The most distinctive ingredient remains Schlitt’s trademark vocal, a wonderful throwback for an entire generation of Christian music fans.
Though the record is strong and Schlitt has nothing to prove, it would be enjoyable to hear something truly progressive from the rock vet, perhaps taking a cue from last year’s monumental Robert Plant/Alison Krauss collaboration, stepping outside his own nostalgic sound while staying true to the musical inclinations that have made him a rock legend. –Andrew Greer
This review has been reprinted on NRT with permission from Christian Music Planet. Click here to visit ChristianMusicPlanet.com today!