Knowing the rich musical history of the Porcaro family like I do, I should not have been surprised.
But yet I was.
Someday/Somehow, the debut solo album from the incomparable Steve Porcaro is one true gem.
The fact that Porcaro has been working on this album on-and-off ever since the early 1980s makes it that much more special to be able to listen to Someday/Somehow in 2016.
I've been a card-carrying member of the Toto fan club ever since the stylus made it halfway through "Child's Anthem," the lead cut off the group's 1978 debut album.
Brothers Jeff, Mike and Steve have all been integral components of the Grammy-winning group at various points for the past 40 years. It's no wonder the Porcaro boys were blessed with such impressive musical skills, since their father Joe's resume as a highly-respected session musician would take a person two days to read through.
Heck, all three of the Porcaro brothers have played on and been involved in some of the most-important and best-selling albums of all time. Keyboardist Steve even co-wrote "Human Nature" off Michael Jackson's mega-blockbuster, Thriller, a feather in the cap if there ever was one.
Unfortunately, drummer Jeff (1992) and bassist Mike (2015) both passed away while in the ranks of Toto. Through the beautiful use of recording technology, both Jeff and Mike make appearances on Someday/Somehow, which is just the way it should be.
Maybe the thing that caught me most off-guard about Someday/Somehow is just how accomplished a vocalist Porcaro is. He handles lead vocals on over half of the 13 tracks and is a real joy to listen to. Rich, warm and passionate would be a quick-and-tidy way to sum up Porcaro's vocals.
Well done, indeed.
The album starts off with an emotional love letter from Porcaro -who has been a touring musician since he was 17 - to his children, called "Ready or Not." It tugs on the heart-strings in all the right ways that a love letter should, without ever stooping and falling to a mushy, over-dramatic level.
It's always a welcome listen when Michael McDonald steps up to the mic and that's most definitely the case on the aptly-titled "Swing Street," which bubbles along in a jazzy, laid-back groove with the Grammy-winner on lead vocals. McDonald is also featured vocalist on "Night of our Own," as well.
"Face of a Girl" is another standout cut and is a well-crafted song about a sleepless night -('It's not the weight of the world, it's the face of a girl') with Jamie Kimmett singing lead.
Someday/Somehow certainly (and naturally) has flourishes of some of the canon that Toto has built up over the years, especially on cuts like "Back to You," which the band actually recorded back in '83, before Porcaro went and wrapped up work on the track last year. That's the song that has Jeff and Mike on it. And yes, the one-and-only Steve Lukather is among those that lent out a helping hand on Someday/Somehow.
Taken as a whole, the album has a pace and feel that largely seems to be missing in action from most of today's pop music offerings. It's lush, full-bodied and is easily identifiable as the craft of a master musician.
Whether it's intentional or not, Someday/Somehow seems like one continuous thought; with a thread that seems to run from beginning to end, making the album almost listen like an entire day in the life of Porcaro - from sunup to sundown.
After being heavily-involved in the first six Toto albums, Porcaro has been back working with the band for roughly the past half-decade and was a big part of last year's superb Toto XIV. He co-wrote and sang lead on "The Little Things" off that album and even though parts of Someday/Somehow stretch back 30-plus years, his solo album really seems to be a natural extension of his work on Toto XIV, which is a beautiful thing.
Here's hoping solo album number two arrives sooner, rather than later, for Steve Porcaro.
To order Someday/Somehow, or for more info on Steve Porcaro, visit www.steveporcaromusic.com.