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Toto

If there was ever any doubt in anyone’s mind whether renowned musician Steve Porcaro–a founding member of the legendary band Toto and a sibling of one of the most musically acclaimed families–is among the best of the arrangers, composers, and writers in the industry (not to mention performers as well), it has clearly been dispelled with Porcaro’s release of his first ever solo album entitled Someday / Somehow. With this record Porcaro clearly establishes his mastery of his musical craft in performance, presentation, and arrangement. Someday / Somehow offers 13 tracks with each song being independently distinct and unique from one another. Someday Somehow

Editor’s Note: Steve Porcaro’s writing prowess should come as no surprise. He co-wrote Human Nature on Michael Jackson’s Grammy-winning album Thriller, and he also performed on other Thriller tracks including Beat It and The Girl Is Mine. Additionally, Porcaro contributed in either writing or co-writing at least one song on each of the first six Toto albums. The foregoing represents but a fraction of Steve Porcaro’s musical resume.

 

In actuality, Someday / Somehow has been a work in progress for many years. For example, the song Back To You (the 6th track on the album) was first worked on by Toto back in 1983. In speaking about the record Porcaro had this to say:

“I’ve always been writing and recording over the years, hoping to find homes for these songs with other artists. Lately, I’ve been reminded repeatedly how short life is, and I think it’s finally sinking in and with the encouragement of my band, family and fans, I decided it was time to remove my excuses, throw down, let go and finish these songs the way I hear them.”

Besides being a master arranger, writer and composer, on Someday / Somehow Porcaro also establishes himself as a formidable lead vocalist as he sings lead on 7 of the 13 tracks. On his singing abilities for this record Porcaro said this:

”I didn’t care who sang them [the songs] and I didn’t have any ego about that, I just wanted to get them done the way I heard it. But you know, being back with Toto these last several years and traveling with them, I realized that there is that section of Toto fans that like it when I sing and they enjoy it when I sing. Now, with the technology that’s available, it made it a lot less painful.”

Joining Porcaro on Someday / Somehow is also multi-Grammy Winner Michael McDonald who dominates (as only he can) on Swing Street. The song fits McDonald’s voice perfectly. (McDonald is also lead vocals on another track entitled Night Of Our Own). Jamie Kimmett takes the lead on She’s So Shy and Face Of A Girl and if the latter track is not reminiscent of a song that could have been a single on a Michael Jackson album, then think again. Kimmett is masterful on Face Of A Girl. The lead vocalist duties are rounded out by Michael Sherwood (Make Up) and Mabvuto Carpenter (Painting By Numbers). Toto fans will also be pleased to know that Steve Lukather makes an appearance on the album.

Fans of Steve Porcaro and Toto will also be thrilled to learn that Steve’s brothers, Mike and Jeff, incredibly make appearances on the album.  Mike appears on 6 of the 13 tracks and Jeff can be heard on the driving Back To You with vintage and crisp fills being played by the legendary timekeeper. Mike’s appearance is bitter-sweet because as Steve tells us, Mike worked on the record up until the very end. Additionally, Sam Porcaro (Mike’s son) appears on the record (bass guitar). Check out this clip of Back To You with Jeff Porcaro on drums:

Beyond the technical brilliance of the material, one of the more outstanding qualities of Someday / Somehow is the personal aspect of the record. For example, in talking about the first track on the record, Ready Or Not, Porcaro had this to say: “Ready Or Not was written for my kids. The first verse describes the day my oldest, Heather was born, but the song’s a love letter to all my kids, and to anyone who travels with kids at home.” Check out a portion of Ready Or Not here:

Additionally, in the liner notes just ahead of Back To You there is a picture of the brothers Porcaro. There is little doubt that creating this album and even listening to it brings Steve Porcaro back to days that he spent with his brothers and one can only imagine his emotional journey into that world. Finally, Porcaro’s daughter, Heather (a recording artist herself), did the photography for the record. It is difficult, if not impossible, to miss the intimate fingerprint of this record.

Heather Porcaro
Heather Porcaro

Another outstanding quality of Someday / Somehow is simply the arrangements and the writing of all the songs. We all know that Steve Porcaro can play. His tenure with–and without–Toto proves that. However, with this record Porcaro has demonstrated that he has an uncanny ability to compose a song so as to marry a performer’s vocals with the melody such that they become one. Case in point is Face Of A Girl and the intrinsicly dynamic Swing Street.  These songs are entirely transparent to this listener who can hear and feel every breath and movement of the song as well as the performers playing on it. Steve Porcaro literally writes life into his music.

Steve Porcaro
Steve Porcaro

Similarly, Someday / Somehow matches vocal talent to composition perfectly which is another testament to Porcaro’s ability to superbly arrange music.  Simply put, Steve Porcaro should be singing his own material because he sounds like the appropriate voice for it. Likewise, it would be difficult to imagine another voice matching the fit that Michael McDonald gets on Swing Street. Again, on this record Porcaro puts the right performers in the right place at the right time and that inevitably leads to the optimum musical result. The finished product clearly corroborates this premise.

Indeed, there are many more qualities that this record has to offer and by all means check it out for yourself. If you are a musician you will absolutely love the performances (individual and collective) on this record. These players can play. If you are simply a fan or a consumer of music, you will appreciate the quality, thought, and emotion of the compositions. Finally, if you are a songwriter, this album is a textbook lesson on how to compose music. Some artists would be well served to take the time to study the design and construction of his album and to learn from it. In the end and regardless of your status, this record offers something for everyone.

I have sometimes heard Steve Porcaro describe what it is like to work with performers that he deemed were an “embarrassment of riches.” With this record I don’t think Steve Porcaro needs to think about that anymore; he has attained that status himself. Indeed, Someday / Somehow is today’s work of art. We are glad you have arrived Mr. Porcaro, we know it has been a long journey but we also knew that someday, somehow, you would deliver a record of this stature. Well done.

Here is the track listing for Someday / Somehow:

  1. Ready Or Not
  2. Loved By A Fool
  3. Someday / Somehow
  4. Swing Street
  5. She’s So Shy
  6. Back To You
  7. Face Of A Girl
  8. To No One
  9. Makeup
  10. She’s The One
  11. Night Of Our Own
  12. Painting By Numbers
  13. More Than I Can Take

Editor’s Note: You can get your copy of Someday / Somehow, along with other Steve Porcaro merchandise, here.

Ken “K Bo” Biedzynski, Editor

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