ACOUSTIC DELIGHT - STEVE HACKETT'S NEW ALBUM : UNDER A MEDITERRANEAN SKY REVIEWED BY: ALAN HEWITT.

Steve Hackett - Under A Mediterranean Sky

An acoustic album from Steve has been long overdue. Difficult to believe that his last was 2008's Tribute. OK, he hasn't exactly been idle in the intervening years now, has he? Even so, to finally have this album available is a joy beyond measure.

The source of inspiration for the album is obvious from its title: the Mediterranean. What a subject for any artistic project! Home to the cradles of Western civilization and democracy and much more besides. You could spend your life writing about any one of its facets - and some great artists have done so! Here is another. However, Steve has cherry picked his elements to produce a glorious bouquet of musical wonders.

Here you have a truly remarkable collaboration between two musicians who are so in synch with each other it borders on telepathy! Both Steve and Roger King have created something here which is simply breathtaking. Augmented by some impeccable performances from musicians whose work has graced several of Steve's more recent albums, they all ensure that each and every track is carved out of the purest musical logic. OK, yes, there has been some judicious recycling of certain elements, not least the reworking of Mason Williams's Classical Gas in Joie De Vivre but you know what, it works.

Many of these tracks, I suspect are destined to become stage favourites if and when Steve is able to perform them that is. Either way, there is simply so much to relish on this album. It is a veritable banquet for the ears and each and every course is as delicious as the others. I don't know what Steve puts in his cup of Earl Grey these days but whatever it is, it has enabled him to continue to inhabit that purple patch of creative magnificence that he has occupied for a long time now. The Muse is still being kind to Mr Hackett and we can only sit back and marvel at the results.