Nov 172019
 

from HERE I AM
Written by David Foster, Tom Keane & Richard Baskin

In 1985, Jason Scheff took Peter Cetera’s place when the legendary singer/songwriter/bassist left Chicago for a solo career. Scheff became the supergroup’s new tenor lead singer and bass player. Scheff held that position until 2017 when he left the group.

Just recently, Scheff made a comeback with a second solo cd titled Here I Am. Co-produced by Jay De Marcus of Rascal Flatts’ fame, Here I Am presents a mix of original pop songs co-written by various Nashville songwriters as well as a handful of remakes of classic Chicago hits. Here, Scheff reinterprets “Will You Still Love Me,” his first big hit with Chicago that was superbly crafted by David Foster for Chicago 18. Two other smart choices were “What Kind Of Man Would I Be,” a Top 5 hit that Jason co-wrote with Bobby Caldwell and Dennis Matkosky in 1988 for Chicago 19 and “Look Away,” a giant hit originally from Chicago 19 revisited here as a duet with former bandmate Bill Champlin. The lead vocal was handled by Champlin on the original version. “Feeling Stronger Every Day” and “Hard To Say I’m Sorry” round out the Chicago covers on Here I Am.  As great as those two classics were, they are so strongly associated with Cetera’s voice that they sound a tad out of place compared to the other remakes, The arrangement of “Hard To Say I’m Sorry” really pales by comparison to the 1982 Chicago 16 hit version. Maybe two other new songs would have been a better fit for the cd. Among the new songs, the breezy mid-tempo, “Wonderful Day” stands out as a truly fantastic piece of music with a terrific melody and memorable hook. Another interesting track was “If You Only Knew,” an emotional power ballad that sports a great vocal performance and a catchy, country-tinged arrangement. Going back to the Chicago covers, the gorgeous melody of “Will You Still Love Me,” co-written by Foster with Tom Keane and Richard Baskin, is the selection for this week’s review.

This modernized version is quite pleasant with a respectful arrangement based on tasteful programming. It is a pleasure to listen to the amazing vocal interplay between Scheff and Champlin, two masters at their game. As nice as this is, Foster’s work included on Chicago 18 was a completely different ball game. In those days, The Hitman was in his prime and defined an era and a music style with those meticulously crafted power ballads. This cover is a welcome reminder of the beauty of those melodies and the amazing talents of all those involved: Champlin, Scheff, Foster and the entire Chicago band. 

All things considered, Here I Am is a good comeback for Jason Scheff. We hope he’ll deliver more new music in the future, maybe showcasing his songwriting talent that was lacking on this cd.


Listen

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  • Bass & Vocals: Jason Scheff
  • Vocals: Bill Champlin
  • Keyboards, Vocals & Programming: Jay De Marcus
  • Drums & Percussion: Dorian Crozier
  • Guitars & Background vocals: Thomas Jankton

Lyrics

Take me as I am
Put your hand in mine now and forever
Darling here I stand, stand before you now
Deep inside I always knew
It was you, you and me
Two hearts drawn together bound by destiny
It was you and you for me
Every road leads to your door
Every step I take forever more

Just say you’ll love me for the rest of your life
I gotta lot of love and I don’t want to let go
Will you still love me for the rest of my life?
Cause I can’t go on
No, I can’t go on
I can’t go on
If I’m on my own

Take me as I am
Put your heart in mine, stay with me forever
’cause I am just a man who never understood
I never had a thing to prove
Till there was you
You and me
Then it all came clear so suddenly
How close to you that I want to be

Just say you’ll love me for the rest of your life
I gotta lot of love and I don’t want to let go
Will you still love me for the rest of my life?
Cause I can’t go on
No, I can’t go on
I can’t go on
If I’m on my own

Do you believe a love could run so stong?
Do you believe a love could pass you by?
There was no special one for me
I was the lovely one, you see
But then my heart lost all control
Now you’re all that I know

Just say you’ll love me for the rest of your life
I gotta lot of love and I don’t want to let go
Will you still love me for the rest of my life?
Cause I can’t go on
No, I can’t go on
I can’t go on
If I’m on my own