Sound — 8
People mostly know Richie Kotzen for two things: playing on Poison's "Native Tongue" album, and replacing Paul Gilbert in Mr. Big for two albums. But, he also has had a very prolific solo career. He has released 14 (!) solo albums since being discovered by Shrapnel Records in the 80's. 2009 brought the release of his 13th album, "Peace Sign". The record is a brilliant summary of Mr. Kotzen, showcasing his fluid guitar playing and his soulful vocals. His guitar playing, which incorporates elements of rock/metal, blues, soul, jazz fusion, and funk, adds interesting elements to every song, whether it be the hard rock My Messiah, or the funky "Paying Dues", or the Hendrix-y "Peace Sign". Another highlight is "We're All Famous", which seems to draw some inspiration from Stevie Wonder's classic "Superstition". Kotzen, who recorded all the instruments himself, also shows off his bass ability on "You Got Me". Overall, it's a superb effort from one of the great guitarists of our time.
Lyrics — 8
As much as Richie is known for his guitar playing, his voice seems to be overlooked. It's a shame, considering the soulfullness of his voice. He can carry a tune very well. The lyrics he sings aren't groundbreaking, but there's nothing terrible to be found.
Overall Impression — 8
Richie Kotzen has given us another solid effort from his solo career with "Peace Sign". The album bounces between several genres, but throughout, his guitarmanship shines. His voice also adds colorful strokes on almost every song. I really can't pick one favorite since each song has something I enjoy in it.