REVIEW: Jeff Coffey — This Time Around (LP)
People in rock bands have it lucky. Truly! You might think I’m waxing poetic and pulling your leg or being a little bit of a comedian, but I’m saying this in full earnest. People in rock bands have it lucky… compared to those working as solo musicians. An example: when you think about the true work ethic of a solo artist, it resides entirely on their shoulders, with no bandmates or greater powers to call to within the creative process.
ABOUT JEFF COFFEY: https://www.jeffcoffey.com/
Sure, you have your producers and friends who check in and ask how projects are going but at the end of the day, you answer wholly to one powers-that-be within yourself. Going from being a player in a band to one on your own is a task that isn’t for everyone and asks quite a drastic amount from anyone that thinks they’re up for it. Most folks can’t be their boss but always decide that they’ll break the mold… and quickly discover how wrong they were. For successful solo musicians, it’s important to have either started as one or to come from a band that has a high enough batting average to instill a rapid-fire worth ethic within your craft. Luckily for Jeff Coffey, he’s had experience with both of these very scenarios.
Returning from a brief stint working with a little band named Chicago, Jeff Coffey is back with a fresh solo album full of original material aptly named This Time Around, which is seeing its release hot off the back of a cover album that saw its release in 2020. This Time Around is a knockout return for the artist, who has taken the time between this and his previous original solo work to get out and go on adventures, experiencing life enough to create art about. The tone across the album ping-pongs all over the place, with lighter beats coming on “All I Need Is Love” and “Record Player,” ballads being done their due justice with “Tonight” and “Someday,” and even brief existentialism seeing itself tackled in the inward-aggressive “Home.”
The variety put on display by Coffey is something most experienced musicians might feel a touch afraid to attempt, but by doing so Coffey can humbly portray himself as a musician unafraid to be seen first and foremost as a mere man. The frightening aspect of bearing your heart in all of its forms is made less frightening here as Coffey touches on the beautifully positive emotions that come with being raw and open as often as he speaks on the lesser, more negative pieces.
There’s no doubt that Coffey takes the work ethic given to him with his time spent in a variety of musical ventures and puts it to great use in his solo outings; the fact that he does it to such great effect with This Time Around is something worth drawing attention to, as most artists coming back to their career arc after fourteen years between original projects might have grown a tad stagnant. The Jeff Coffey shown in This Time Around is a man of many faces, many lives, and many experiences; perhaps you’ll find a version or two of yourself between the verses.