On March 26, 2021, "Smith/Kotzen", the debut album of the new project "Smith/Kotzen", was released.
This is a collaboration between Adrian Smith "Iron Maiden's" guitarist, and Richie Kotzen, known among others as the guitarist of "Poison", "Mr. Big" and "The Winery Dogs".
The two recorded a few songs in the West Indies, in February 2020, when hints of the collaboration between the two also began.
Kotzen said that he and Smith come from a background of blues-rock and classical rock and they found the common denominator there. This album showcases the influences and roots of the two gifted guitarists, but with a contemporary and up-to-date sound.
Richie and Adrian's friendship started years ago just by chance, and at one point Adrian Smith's wife suggested they write songs together. The chemistry between the two was so clear and the matter developed very quickly into a co-written full album.
Richie and Adrian share the vocals on the album, and beyond their guitar roles, they also share the bass guitar parts throughout the album. Israeli drummer Tal Bergman, Ritchie's old friend, plays drums on "You Don't Know Me", "I Wanna Stay" and "'Til Tomorrow", with Ritchie himself playing five more songs.
We got the first single from the album back in December 2020. The first track "Taking My Chances", was received with excitement by the fans of the two guitarists and proved that there is definitely something to look forward to.
On February 23, 2021 we were surprised to receive a completely different "animal", in the form of "Scars", a heavy blues piece that sounded to us like a combination of Stevie Ray Vaughan and Joe Bonamassa.
On March 10, 2021, the third single "Running", was released. A rhythmic and catchy rock-pop track. By then it was already clear. This album is probably going to be rich and varied in terms of style.
Indeed, "Some People" has a bit of a Funky parts, "Glory Road" presents us with the old-fashioned Blues with a catchy and new scent, "Solar Fire" makes good use of Nicko McBrain's abilities, increases the rhythm and hardens it a bit with Hard Rock vintage, "You Do Not Know Me" makes us press the clutch and downshift until the solo battle at the end, "I Wanna Stay" is a song with a special "Pop" tone and "'Til Tomorrow" ends the album in an epic way.
Despite the apparent diversity between the album's songs, it can be said that there is still a connecting thread between them all, and these are the roots of the "Blues" that are always there in the background.
Taking My Chances
You Don’t Know Me
I Wanna Stay