Rick Hall

Journey guitarist Neal Schon says band has “a different strut” on new album, ‘Freedom’

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Journey‘s first new studio album in 11 years, Freedom, was released today.

The 15-track collection, which was recorded during the COVID-19 pandemic, is the first Journey album to feature drummer Narada Michael Walden, who also co-produced Freedom with guitarist Neal Schon and keyboardist Jonathan Cain.

Freedom also marks the return of bassist Randy Jackson, who previously played with Journey from 1985 to 1987. Walden and Jackson joined the band after longtime Journey drummer Steve Smith and bassist Ross Valory were fired in 2020.

“There’s a different strut to this record altogether,” Schon tells ABC Audio. “[M]any people probably can imagine that…replacing a whole rhythm section is gonna change the overall rhythm, feel in the band. And personally, I love it…I think it’s got a new vibe, and even some of the ballads are…coming from a different place than what we’ve done before.”

Freedom includes songs that sound like they could have come from various eras in Journey’s history, and features a mix of power ballads, hard-rocking tunes, sensitive love songs and even a funk-influenced track.

“I just think the album is very musical,” Neal maintains. “I feel like, for me, it goes back to maybe the Infinity era, when I first started writing with Steve Perry, to what we are now…and what we’re becoming.”

Schon says an important factor in the album’s sound was that, while most of the band contributed their parts remotely, he and Walden worked together laying down guitar and drums tracks live in the studio.

“I personally like [cutting] drums and guitar live…even if there’s no other instruments,” Neal says, “because it breathes new life. You know, there’s a lot of life to the music then.”

Here’s Freedom‘s full track list:

“Together We Run”
“Don’t Give Up on Us”
“Still Believe in Love”
“You Got the Best of Me”
“Live to Love Again”
“The Way We Used to Be”
“Come Away with Me”
“After Glow”
“Let It Rain”
“Holdin On”
“All Day and All Night”
“Don’t Go”
“United We Stand”
“Life Rolls On”
“Beautiful as You Are”