The fans of the American singer Lana Lane, nicknamed the queen of symphonic rock, had to wait five long years for a new album. In a press record she explains why it took so long between El Dorado Hotel and her previous release Red Planet Boulevard (2007). “ As an artist, you hope that you have something new to say with each record. This became harder and harder to do - especially when during some years, there were two or more new records released.” Therefore after nearly fifteen years of working non-stop it was time for a sabbatical. She needed a break from the pressure and time to reload the batteries.
Well, with El Dorado Hotel she's back in the spotlights where she belongs. This time the veteran symphonic rock diva takes the listener to a hotel with ten rooms behind the doors of which you'll discover some fantastic music in different musical styles. Of course, she recorded the new album together with her husband, the well-known keyboardist Erik Norlander. Together they made sure to get the right balance of all these different aspects of music. In general, the ten songs are based on AOR, melodic rock and progressive rock, but influences from folk rock, ethnic music and even Spanish music are noticeable as well in the rooms of the El Dorado Hotel. Sometimes when I closed a door behind me and opened the next one I could enjoy a nice ballad. At other times the music had a more up-tempo approach in order to offer the visitor a welcome change. It's really striking how the marvellous keyboard playing by Erik Norlander lifts the music to a higher level.
On entering a number of rooms of the El Dorado Hotel I recognized some familiar faces as well. One of them was that of John Payne, the former singer and bass player of Asia. He delivered some fine harmony and choral vocals and he also played the mandolin. I also saw the well-known face of Mark McCrite (Rocket Scientists) who assisted on guitars, bass, choral vocals and programming. Other guitar players who were present in the rooms were Bruce Bouillet (Racer X), Neil Citron (Quiet Riot), Freddy DeMarco and Guthrie Govan (ex-Asia), all providing some excellent solos and riffs. Another friend of Lana's who showed up was bassist Don Schiff. He performed very well on the NS/Stick. Finally I also bumped into bassist Mark Matthews and drummer Jay Schellen (Asia, World Trade).
Well, I guess I'll spend my summer holidays at the El Dorado Hotel this year, because they've got fine rooms up there. And the company of Lana Lane and her fellow-musicians will be a pleasant one. If you also want to spend your holidays at this hotel you're invited to take this opportunity. For bookings check out Lana Lane's websites. Hope to see you this summer enjoying together the fantastic music of the 'queen of symphonic rock'.
*** Henri Strik (edited by Peter Willemsen)
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