When I was young, I was fascinated by myths and legends of ancient Greece, Rome and Egypt and I was given a book, 'The Story of Greece', which had belonged to my mum when she was a child herself. With lots of colour plates I was fascinated by the stories of Achilles, Hyacinthus, Apollo, Arachne and many others, including of course Pandora. Many people will have heard the term Pandora's Box even if they do not know the myth from which it was taken. Although the story has been retold many times in many ways, the base is always the same in that Pandora opened a container as she wondered what was inside, releasing many evils into the world and although she attempted to close it quickly only one thing was left behind, often referred to as hope.
Steve is a multi-instrumentalist, and although Eric Johnson has assisted with a guitar solo on one song, he does everything else himself apart from the female vocals, where Shimmer Johnson provides the lead on "My Name Is Pandora" and C.C. White provides additional vocals throughout. Steve is no stranger to concept albums, with the two excellent 'Stargazer' albums behind him, but it is very different indeed to work on an original story as opposed to a well-known myth, how to make it relevant for the modern day? Quite easily in his hands it appears, as he mixes it with the story of Eve and Christianity, bringing it right up to date when someone at a garage sale come across a jewelled box they cannot open and asks for advice, only to regret it when they get inside.
The lyrics are thoughtful and at times quite deep, making us think, but in contrast the music is light and full of hooks, so they combine together in a manner which is both fascinating and intriguing, making us curious to investigate further, much like the protagonists in the story. The idea of bringing in a singer to take on the role of Pandora herself makes total sense as here she has a voice and is able to explain who she is, and in Shimmer Johnson, Steve has found the perfect vocalization of his ideas. I can see them working together more in the future. As well as the songs, there is a spoken word piece called "Origin Story", where we hear the story of Pandora according to the original legends, explaining to those who did not grow up reading Greek myths (which is most people in fairness), all accompanied by an underlying keyboard piece. I also ought to make mention of the drums, as although they are programmed it shows that when someone really knows what they are doing then they can become a valid instrument. It really feels like there is a human driving the sound as opposed to a computer.
The end result is an album which is deep, wanting to make us think and also investigate the story further, while also being thoroughly enjoyable on a musical level. Complex, and complicated, it is a delight the first time it is played and that feeling only deepens the more one gets inside.
Kev Rowland - Prog Archives
The Steve Bonino Project - Eva Prima Pandora from the 2022 Melodic Revolution Records release 'Pandora'.
"Influences by Steve Bonino" is a weekly music show presented by House of Prog that I host.
It is an hour long pre-recorded program that features many of the artists and musical styles that have influenced me during my life .
Some of the featured artists that have influenced me are:
Bob Dylan, The Beatles, ELP, Miles Davis, Pink Floyd,
Frank Zappa, King's X, Gentle Giant, Steely Dan
Bruce Hornsby, Horn Bands, Tears For Fears, Thomas Dolby, Peter Gabriel and many more.
It airs every Saturday morning at 9am PST, noon EST.
There are weekly replays the following Friday at
4pm PST, 7pm EST.
I have to thank station owner Rick Henry, his wife Mary Pat and DJ Tony Live (Tony Romero) for the opportunity. I have a blast revisiting the catalogs of my heroes each week.
Please join us in the chat room at www.HouseofProg.com
to share your feedback.
Steve Bonino, vocals, bass, guitar, keyboards and drum programming
Marco Minnemann - drums
Jimmy Keegan - drums
Mike Lewis - drums
Peter Matuchniak - guitar
Erik Johnson - guitar
Seth Romano - guitar, keyboards, vocals and percussion
Jonathan Sindelman - keyboards
Robert Schindler - keyboards
Shimmer Johnson - vocals
Featuring Pacale Elia, vocals
Jimmy Keegan, drums, keyboards and vocals
Steve Bonino, guitar, bass, keyboards and vocals
With special guests:
Amy Tori, flute
Brad Zapper, pedal steel
Greg Lastrapes, keyboards
Ryo Okumoto, Hammond B-3
Progressive Rock, and Jazz
Peter Matuchniak (guitar, vocals)
Steve Bonino (bass, acoustic guitar, vocals)
Scott Connor (drums, vocals)
Alyssa Matuchniak (vocals, keyboards)
Paul Mouradjian (keyboards),
JoJo Nakano (sax)
Ted Zahn (vocals, bass, keys)
Natalie Azerad (vocals)
Rock, Ambient and New Vibe
Tony Romero, Keyboards and programming
Steve Bonino, bass, guitar, additional keys , drum programming and vocals
Robert Schindler, keyboards
Liz Tapia, vocals
Sophia Baird, vocals
Americana and Pop Rock
Ted Zahn, guitar, bass, keyboards, drum programming and vocals
Steve Bonino, guitar, bass, keyboards, drum programming and vocals
with special guests:
Laura Green, lead and backing vocals
Brandi Smith, lead vocals
Scott Connor, drums
Kelly Moore, pedal steel
Marcus Dawson, bass
Janeen Miller, backing vocals
Elaine Zahn, backing vocals
Dean (Dino) Colli, electric guitar
Damion Meadows, conga
David Gilman, clarinet
Progressive rock, Art Rock, AOR, Pop Rock
Steve Bonino, vocals, bass, guitar, keyboards, drum programming
with special guests:
Jimmy Keegan, drums, vocals,
Mike Lewis, drums
Pascale Elia, vocals
Greg Hilfman, keyboards
Dave Meros, bass
Ryo Okumoto, keyboards
Matt Waldrum, electric guitar
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