Robert De Leo ‘Lessons Learned’ Album Review

Former Stone Temple Pilot bass player and songwriter serves up a compelling album of originals, supplemented by two tracks highlighting one of his heroes: Gordon Lightfoot.

Robert De Leo has long been regarded as one of the premier rock bassists with his many recordings with the Stone Temple Pilot band, and was heralded by critics as an intriguing songwriter. His new album, Lessons Learned, is his debut solo album; it is a stellar performance from all involved, beginning with De Leo as the architect of several wonderful songs.

The age of 56 might well be regarded as a time for reflection in a writer’s career, and so it has proved with De Leo’s turn away from distorted, energetic bass lines he employs to great effect when on stage with STP (still on tour btw). With his recent acquisition of a guitarrón and a nylon-string guitar to inspire that reflection, the new material displays a maturity seldom found on the music scene these days, one founded on the artist’s surprising love of folk music, bossa-nova, and samba.

 I look at Gordon Lightfoot and what he unveiled of himself, or Jim Croce, or Cat Stevens — very personal music, and I used that as a template. I wanted to make a record where people generally sit down and play it as an experience in listening. ~ Robert De Leo

He plays most of the instruments on the record, and is ably supported by several terrific vocalists, – Jimmy Gnecco of OursKara BritzTim Bluhm of Mother HipsPete Shoulder, and Gary Wright among them.

The album was issued in October of 2022, but came to our attention a few days ago with the release of two additional bonus tracks, both covers written and originally performed by Gordon Lightfoot: “Affair on 8th Avenue” and “Your Love’s Return”. Both are sung by Pete Shoulder, magnificently.

A richly rewarding album, highly recommended.

Brian Miller

Brian Miller is the Publisher and Editor of Vivascene, which he founded in 2010. A former record store owner, business executive and business writer, he is devoted to vinyl records, classical guitar, and b&w photography.

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