February 15, 2022

If you have not heard of Lana Lane then I suggest you begin your investigations immediately as Lana is truly the first lady of rock and a progressive/melodic rock goddess, oh, and she probably has the best voice you will ever hear too! Biased? Of course I am because when you come across someone so special then the performance and the music stays with you forever.

Photo: Jim St Clair

Where to begin? Lana Lane is an American singer with her own most successful solo career and some absolutely must have albums in her back catalogue as well as being involved with the Rocket Scientists surely one of the greatest ever progressive rock bands to come out of America. She is married to the keyboard maestro Eric Norlander, a prodigious solo artist in his own right as well as sharing his Rocket Scientists career with her and the musicians involved in that project are normally always found in the same vicinity as they appear frequently together regardless of the project or band name. Lana’s debut album, Love Is An Illusion, came out in 1995 and immediately marked her out a something special as a powerful woman in progressive rock with an amazing rock voice and surrounded by some truly spectacular musicians. The album also made a name for her in Japan and this has led to several live albums being recorded there and it has often been said that when the Japanese love you then you have a market for life. Lana was a prolific artist between 1995 and 2007 during which time she released many studio albums, special cover versions and live albums but she has been somewhat less prolific since then with El Dorado Hotel coming out in 2012 and then nothing until now with Neptune Blue being her latest and a most seriously overdue album.

The good news is that Lana has her full team with her with Erik Norlander on keyboards and vocals, Jeff Kollman on guitar, Mark McCrite on guitar, bass and backing vocals, Don Schiff on NS stick and Greg Ellis on drums, a talented team indeed. To this you also need to add a certain John Payne on backing vocals and together they have produced a sublime, perfectly controlled and totally thrilling progressive rock album with stunning musical passages which show that Lana is still very much on top of her game. The guitar work is exquisite with McCrite and Kollman being two fabulous guitarists with Erik Norlander being Wakeman class on keyboards and then you have the enigmatic Don Schiff, an acknowledged true master of the NS/Chapman stick. If you haven’t seen the NS stick in action then check it out on the internet as it is a truly amazing instrument and a real mind blowing experience.

Lana Lane is one of those very special singers who can bring any genre to life and is very comfortable with other styles but progressive rock is her speciality and you can tell that this is such a special album and that 10-years of emotions, ideas, dreams and hopes have gone into the making of Neptune Blue. This reverberates through the album with Lana sounding as good as she ever has and you feel that she is singing to you and you alone and that is the real genius of the woman and what helps to make the record so personal and emotionally engaging. The songs are all perfectly written and fully developed with fantastic levels of musicianship, great lead and harmony vocals and levels of intricacy that only the true supergroups can aspire to. The mixing and production is exceptional making this a stunning album to listen to on headphones but such is the performance it sounds brilliant late at night in a laid back atmosphere or when cranked to the max and in full party mode.

If you know Lana Lane then you will most probably have this album but if the 10-year gap has caused a little nervousness then have no fears as the lady is back and in the form of her life. Quite simply Neptune Blue is a must have album and if you care to look back into her catalogue then you are going to find a true cornucopia of delights to revel in!

Neptune Blue

  1. Remember Me (5:16)
  2. Under The Big Sky (5:19)
  3. Really Actually (5:34)
  4. Come Lift Me Up (6:27)
  5. Bring It On Home (5:10)
  6. Don’t Disturb The Occupants (3:11)
  7. Lady Mondegreen (She’s So Misunderstood) (5:06)
  8. Miss California (4:16)
  9. Someone Like You (Psych Version) (4:17)
  10. Far From Home (5:01)
  11. Neptune Blue (8:28)