One Track Mind: Steve Hackett, "'Til These Eyes/ Enter the Night" (2012)

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Photograph by Lee Millward

Guitarist Steve Hackett is issuing a double-sided benefit single, “Til These Eyes/Enter The Night,” on May 21, 2012, to coincide with a one-night event where he will celebrate his stint as a member of Genesis.

“‘Til These Eyes,” an achingly gorgeous ballad with the lightest splashes of acoustic picking, finds Hackett’s downshifting into this husky, contemplative vocal. A sweep of strings eventually join Hackett, but the song remains a coiled meditation on loss — never allowing in so much emotion as to become treacly, nor withholding so much that the track becomes cold. Meanwhile, “Enter The Night,” a polished bit of radio-friendly pop, ripples with soaring synthesizers and echoing tides of vocals. Then Hackett unleashes one of his most approachable solos in years, brisk and intelligent, but at the same time narratively compact.

[SOMETHING ELSE! PREVIEW: Preview the upcoming Squackett album, as we dig into the ‘Sea of Smiles/Perfect Love Song” advance single released for Record Store Day 2012!]

A portion of the sales revenues from “Til The Eyes/ Enter the Night” will go to Childline Rocks, an outreach program of England’s National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children. Both tracks were originally featured on Hackett’s current album Beyond The Shrouded Horizon, although “Enter the Night” was only featured on the deluxe edition of the CD.

Hackett was a member of Genesis from 1971’s Nursery Cryme through 1977’s Wind and Wuthering, a period that covers the Peter Gabriel-led era through the beginning of Phil Collins’ tenure as frontman. He’s since crafted an interesting solo career, moving fluidly from progressive rock to classical then back again, and was also part of the mid-1980s supergroup GTR (known for the No. 14-hit “When the Heart Rules the Mind”) with Yes guitarist Steve Howe. Up next for Hackett: a collaboration with another Yes member, co-founder Chris Squire — to be called Squackett, to be issued on May 28, 2012.

His Genesis-themed concert, called “Past and Present,” will be held on Sunday, May 20, 2012, at the Islington Assembly Hall in London. Hackett will also present songs from his initial solo album, as well as select cuts from Beyond the Shrouded Horizon and Out of the Tunnel’s Mouth, his most recent projects.

Here’s a look back at our recent thoughts on Steve Hackett and Genesis. Click through the titles for complete reviews …

SOMETHING ELSE! INTERVIEW: GUITARIST STEVE HACKETT, FORMERLY OF GENESIS: Hackett, who still nurtures a lasting affinity for classical music, has leapt headlong back into prog rock — putting the finishing touches on a collaboration with Yes co-founder Chris Squire, even as he begins work on an album that will reexamine his celebrated tenure as guitarist with Genesis. Hackett went in depth on the new project with Squire, the guitarist’s celebrated tenure with Genesis, and the sweeping impact of J.S. Bach on his playing style.

GENESIS – SELLING ENGLAND BY THE POUND (1973): There’s music I like, music I love, and then there’s music that literally gives me goosebumps. The list of music that falls into the goosebump category is a rather short one: No matter how many times I hear Steve Hackett’s guitar solo on “Firth of Fifth,” the hairs on my arm stand on end and I find myself moved nearly to tears by the emotive beauty of his guitar-tistry.

ONE TRACK MIND: STEVE HACKETT ON “FIRTH OF FIFTH,” “WHEN THE HEART RULES THE MIND,” OTHERS: Hackett, who’s readying a new collaboration with Yes co-founder Chris Squire, talks about how joining Genesis spurred him to a series of memorable inventions on his instrument. And how one of these pioneering moments would one day help create a signature part of Eddie Van Halen’s high-flying solo sound. We also go inside the brief and stormy collaboration with Steve Howe in the mid-1980s called GTR, and Hackett’s genre-busting return to prog rock in 2009.

GENESIS – A TRICK OF THE TAIL (1976): The era immediately following Peter Gabriel’s departure contains some of Genesis’ best music. While Gabriel was a creative force for the band, I’ve always preferred Phil Collins vocals even while I missed the progressive leanings of the band after their turn to a pop-oriented sound following Steve Hackett’s departure. “Ripples” from this album would be one of the last, best examples: Collins’ vocal delivery is haunting and powerful. Hackett’s guitar playing is brilliantly emotive as always. And Banks piano work on this song, I’d argue, is some of the best he ever did for Genesis.

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Nick DeRiso

Nick DeRiso

Nick DeRiso has written for USA Today, American Songwriter, All About Jazz, and a host of others. Honored as columnist of the year five times by the Associated Press, Louisiana Press Association and Louisiana Sports Writers Association, he oversaw a daily section named Top 10 in the U.S. by the AP before co-founding Something Else! Nick is now associate editor of Ultimate Classic Rock.
Nick DeRiso
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