Veteran Musician Jeff Coffey Releases “Origins” Tribute LP
Remember the awesomeness of putting together a mix tape of your favorite songs? That euphoric feeling of every song being hit after hit? No, this isn’t a Time Life infomercial – it’s Jeff Coffey’s Origins – Vocalists And The Songs That Made Me. No stranger to the national scene and stage, Coffey is the former lead singer of iconic band Chicago. Origins conveys Coffey’s artistry and turns out, the songs that made him are the same songs we all know and love.
As lead singer and bassist of Chicago from 2016 – 2018, Coffey certainly had the experience of performing in front of millions. He’s also been a part of the band; Coffey is currently the bassist for former Eagles’ guitarist, Don Felder. He brings that same energy and fire to Origins’ 14 tracks. With Coffee behind the mic, it’s easy to feel like his renditions eclipse the original in many cases. His anthemic voice, primed for just about any rock and roll classic, also suits him well in the ballads. He’s backed by a full band in the songs and the production value swells with spot-on precision. It’s obvious Coffey and company had a heckuva time recording these hits.
Out of the gate, “Ask The Lonely” sets the stage for great things to come. Coffey’s take on the 1983 Journey classic wastes no time in ingratiating the listener to his octave power. Coffey isn’t Steve Perry – we already have a Steve Perry – but his interpretation is peppered with modern nuances. The charm of the song and the tempo never lets up. Coffey’s voice is a great fit for anything Journey.
The music does the talkin’, says the things you want to hear…I’m young, I’m wild and free, I got the magic power of music in me, Coffey sings in “Magic Power”. A brightness in his voice and the striking backing music are two peas in a pod. “Magic Power”, originally recorded by Triumph in 1981, holds up as a song, and frankly, when you hear Coffey sing the lines, you feel like this could almost be his signature song. When he hits the word free, the smiles and goose pimples come out to play.
By happenstance, the songs that drew me in the most are 80s hits – “Waiting For A Girl Like You” (Foreigner; 1981) and “Who Wants To Live Forever” (Queen; 1986). But Coffey wisely chooses songs from other decades and shines. His cover of Jude Cole’s “Baby It’s Tonight” (1990) is a gem. Coffey’s voice is perfect for this range and he adds a bit more character in his voice. I liked the subtle edge in his vocals. And, in the track, “When We Dance”, a cover of Sting’s 2000 hit, Coffey unveils yet another emotional side to his artistry. He doesn’t try to sing exactly like Sting. He comes into his own and projects vulnerability. It’s quite moving and poignant.
So many hits on this record! From “Fooled Around And Fell In Love” to “Maggie May” to “Maybe I’m Amazed”, the listener gets a perfect sense of who Coffey is an artist. Origins – Vocalists And The Songs That Made Me joins Coffey’s two other solo albums, his self-titled debut and Long Way Home.