Joel Hoekstra is best known to rock fans as the current guitarist for Whitesnake. The album was conceived before he joined the band and Dave Coverdale gave the album his full blessing. “David wants his players to spread their wings and fly and of course be ready to rock when Whitesnake needs them, which obviously won’t be an issue.” Says Joel. He is also renowned for his work with Night Ranger, Trans Siberian Orchestra and the show Rock of Ages, is proud to announce the release of his new melodic hard rock studio album “Dying To Live” from his side project, Joel Hoekstra’s 13. The whole album is full of a vibrant energy as the tempo, changes and the musical crunch and dimension alters to match the mood and emotion of the lyrics. This is an album full of dark depths and the contrast of sunshine peeping through and warming the vocals and guitar tones, tracks that are hard-hitting and others full of lush orchestration. Dying To Live is an album that deserves to be listened to from beginning to the end not once or twice but often as with ever re-visit another lyrical phrase, guitar lick of rhythm assails your rock ears and spreads through your musical lifeblood. It is no wonder there is such musical variation and approaches as Joel has gathered around him some fine rock musicians, then the icing on the cake that brightens the album the input from his guests whether from the swell of the cello or the percussive beat or a different vocal timbre and the full sound keys add to any song.
Says Joel, “Years ago, I released three solo albums that were mainly instrumental guitar music. I wanted to put something out that showcased my production, writing and playing in the genre that I’m known for, which is melodic, hard rock. That’s when I decided to start what I consider to be my rock side project, Joel Hoekstra’s 13”. Handling the bulk of the creative process on the album Joel’s influence is seen in the production, songwriting and arranging (music and lyrics). It is as you would expect built around Joel’s versatile guitar playing building the tension creating a wall of sound that cascades through tracks like Anymore with its stand out lead breaks.
The album opens with a high-speed heavy rock adventure Say Goodbye To the Sun, with power drums and vocals and guitar playing that makes you intrigued and wondering what will come next as this is a hard-hitting temperature rising opening track. Will it stay at this level of quality? Yes, tempos ebb and flow but the musicianship, lyrics and vocals are top-notch rock gold throughout. Long For the Days; slows the pace with a drum and guitar intro that connects to your rock soul and the lyrics coil themselves like a tempered snake around the music this is a complete track. Tempo picks up as you would expect with its title Scream with a rocky driving anthem that finds you nearly halfway through the eleven track album. Never say Never has a mediaeval sound intro that you wonder where it is going then the rock starts as the rhythm section joins the party; with a solid delivery of the lyrics that are a wave of sound across the bass line to great effect. Guitar driven The Only Way To Go gets your attention from the first note but it is the lyrics that shine out ‘if you lie with me one more time, I give you comfort…’ this is a song that we can all connect to with the fast throbbing instrumentation there is an urgency and a feeling of despair and standout track. Towards the end of the album is the title track with a different feel again and gets your attention with a vocal distortion at the start that works and guitar work full of rock lashing precision. The melodic shape is ever-present throughout the album, this is rock that has control and shape it is heavy music played, produced and shaped with intelligence. To quote from the title track… Bluesdoodles doesn’t give a flying F**K this is worthy of a 10.
Bluesdoodles gives this CD TEN doodle paws out of TEN ….
Joel Hoekstra’s 13 – Dying To Live – Frontier Music SRL
Joel Hoekstra (Whitesnake) Guitars, Backing Vocals
Jeff Scott Soto (Journey, Yngwie Malmsteen) – Lead Vocals. Backing Vocals
Russell Allen (Adrenaline Mob, Symphony X) – Lead Vocals. Backing Vocals
Vinny Appice (Black Sabbath, Dio) –Drums
Tony Franklin (The Firm, Blue Murder) – Bass
Special Guest Musicians
Derek Sherinian (Black Country Communion) – Keyboards
Chloe Lowery (TransSiberian Orchestra) – Vocals
Toby Hitchcock (Pride of Lions) – Additional Backing Vocals
Charlie Zeleny (Joe Lynn Turner) – Percussion
Dave Eggar (Coldplay) – Cello