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Issue: January 2008

A True Labor of Love

It Began In the Underground (Independent)
The Lec Zorn Project

When you read the words "labor of love" in a music review, that's usually the critic's code for, "This album sucks, but I had to find something nice to say." Thankfully, for the Lec Zorn Project, "labor of love" isn't a euphemism for bad music; it's a sincere description of a heartfelt effort to rock out.

When he's not donning his guitar superhero cape, Zorn is Steve McAtee, a former New Albany resident and IUS grad. McAtee is obviously not just a music fan; he's a student of the melodic rock bands to which his music pays homage. One listen to "Underground" will quickly call to mind groups like Survivor and Shooting Star.

Underground, a disc 20 years in the making, is a testament to McAtee's skill and musicianship. He wrote all the songs (except for a smoking cover of Kansas' "Play the Game Tonight"), plays bass on all 12 tracks and adds synthesizer to more than half. But McAtee is also skilled at calling in the talent of others to provide the singing and guitar work. While Lec Zorn's name is on the group, this is truly a collaborative effort.

Which makes the polished sound even more impressive. Any of these songs would slide easily into a guitar rock playlist, from the instant hook of "Long Time Coming" to the "Eye of the Tiger" intensity of "Fighting Chance" to the soaring instrumental of the opening "Lecoverture." And the album is getting around - several cuts are featured in a comedy film titled Downhill and "Second Chance" landed on a MelodicRock.com compilation alongside tunes from members of Journey and Def Leppard.

Undoubtedly, Underground is a labor of love worthy of listening.

Feel the love at www.leczorn.com.

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