Picks and Pans Review: Fierce Heart
He was a founding member of the '60s supergroup Traffic, but after its eventual breakup in 1974, drummer Capaldi found himself in the express lane to obscurity. This is his first solo project since 1977. It has nine original rock tunes written or co-written by Capaldi and produced by his ex-Traffic pal Steve Winwood. It's a pleasing collaboration, with Capaldi's keen sense of rhythm mixed with Winwood's dreamy, smooth arrangements. There are hints of the trouble Capaldi has seen in the opening lyric of Living on the Edge: "You know I've had my share of dealing with despair/I'm tired of seeing my dreams vanish in the air." While the sentiment is bluesy, the music is distinctly upbeat. A bonus for Van Morrison fans is his acoustic guitar work on Tonight You're Mine. Capaldi draws on lyrical themes from Traffic's halcyon era in his treatments of mysticism (Gifts of Unknown Things), rebellion (Don't Let Them Control You, Runaway) and troubled love (I'll Always Be Your Fool), but at the same time he manages to avoid sounding too much like an aging hippie by taking full advantage of high-tech studio techniques and instrumentals.