Jim Peterik may be one of the electric songwriters of the past half-century, but his bombastic and sometimes catawampus hits are perhaps best displayed in his relatively bare-bones record, The Songs. Under the production of Fred Mollin, Peterik takes the back seat to his 70’s hits that may have otherwise gone down as entirely dated or typified of the radio rock zeitgeist.
While The Songs surveys a great deal of classic rock history under a nuanced Nashville sound, most of the outstanding re-imaginings are recent, with the 2012 Beach Boys “That’s Why God Made The Radio” coming together a bit more from the man himself than a truncated delivery from Brian Wilson and company. Oddly enough, Peterik’s perennial earworm, “Eye of The Tiger” may finally come together for those non-believers (present company included) with an entire bluegrass re-working. It’s not that Peterik has overhauled his “Best of” songwriting catalogue, it’s more that time has allowed itself to be a better judge than critics discerning between Foghat, Boston or .38 Special.
The Songs sees Peterik as utterly confident songwriter that could’ve seen much more acclaim in his heyday had the multifaceted beast of corporate rock not reared its ugly head. Peterik’s missteps can be overlooked in this new wholly Americana tribute to his legacy – and rightfully so. Peterik translates remarkably well into another genre entirely- it makes one wonder what status he might have ascribed to had he picked up a mandolin and paired with Crosby and Nash rather than the stadium rock crowd.
Regardless, one can get a kick out of hearing the folksy version of “Hold On Loosely” or one of Peterik’s multiple hits reworked with a solid roots vibe. Peterik is definitively an unsung figure of rock, and seeing any sort of retrospective is well deserved.