Well, this record came as something of a surprise as it’s the first new music for twelve years by a band that can quite legitimately be called legendary. It’s a long time since Jefferson’s Tree Of Liberty was released in 2008 and a lot has happened since then but, then again, this is a band to which a lot has already happened and it has already been covered and discussed in great detail. This is not then the place to look at the history of this great band as it must surely be known by any self-respecting music fan but we need to put in place which actual version of the band this is as many of the great and the good have come and gone.
The band still features singer and multi-instrumentalist David Freiberg, a musician who actually goes back to the original Airplane days and still going strong at 82, drummer Donny Baldwin who joined in 1982, singer and rhythm guitarist Cathy Richardson who was brought into the band in 2008, keyboardist Chris Smith who joined in 1998 and lead guitarist Jude Gold who came onboard in 2012. At least then this is no mere spectre of the group trading on past glories but one full of long-standing members well steeped in Jefferson Starship history. Sadly, one the leading lights of both Jefferson Airplane and Jefferson Starship (including Starship), Paul Kantner, sadly passed away in 2016 but his former band members wanted his legacy to continue as a tribute to the man himself and Grace Slick graciously licensed the rights of the name to the band to allow them to continue. She even went so far as to co-write one of the songs as did another former Airplane member in Marty Balin and to add to this continuity original Jefferson Starship bassist Pete Sears plays on three of the tracks. This then is truly a fully functioning and valid new version of the band.
The new tracks are typical Jefferson Starship in that they are all sublime examples of classic melodic AOR, perfectly played with superb production and with class pervading throughout. This EP features seven tracks of which five are new with the other two being an extended version of one of the new songs and a live version of Embryonic Journey, an electric guitar treat on which Jude Gold expands and enriches the original short acoustic track performed by Jorma Kaukonen originally on the 1967 Airplane album Surrealistic Pillow. Opening song, It’s About Time is an upbeat, toe tapping soft rocker fairly typical of the earlier radio friendly Starship material and this is followed by What Are We Waiting For? another beautifully delivered soft rock classic very much in Fleetwood Mac territory and with very incisive and questioning lyrics. You can see the roots of the earlier band in the lyrics which are all intelligent and easily fall into the protest category. Setting Sun sees a harder hitting, bluesy and even Southern Rock flavoured side of the band whilst Runaway Again heads more towards ballad territory and then we come to the mazy Embryonic Journey which showcases the dexterity of Jude Gold which then leads into Don’t Be Sad Anymore a gentle and easy paced piano ballad. The album closes with the extended version of What Are We Waiting For? which adds a further minute over and above the standard version and almost demands to be released as a single.
At 33-minutes this is either a long EP or a short album (by today’s standards) but it does show that class is permanent and, although the individual names may change, that Jefferson Starship still has much to offer making Mother Of The Sun a welcome return from an old friend.
Mother Of The Sun track list
- It’s About Time (4;12)
- What Are We Waiting For? (4:07)
- Setting Sun (5:13)
- Runaway Again (4:48)
- Embryonic Journey (5:21)
- Don’t Be Sad Anymore (3:07)
- What Are We Waiting For? (Extended version) (5:15)