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Music Review: Kip Winger – From the Moon to the Sun

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Kip Winger has had an interesting career to say the least. With a name that's hard to take seriously and a run in the glam rock scene of the late 1980s that skyrocketed him to fame, Kip is one of those musicians you would suspect would turn up on some VH1 special. However, it appears that will not happen as his songwriting skills seem to only be getting stronger over the years. Of course, this is my first listen to his solo material but I am very impressed with what I've heard.

The first time I came across the name "Kip Winger" was with Alice Cooper's 1986 release Raise Your Fist and Yell. At that time he was a member of Cooper's band, but he was also an up and coming song writer (with co-writing credit on the song "Gail"). A couple of years later he would have his own band, Winger, riding high on the glam scene. The music was good but typical of the genre.

Winger was one of those bands that I really liked during this time, although public opinion seemed to turn fast as they were identified with wimpier rock fans typified by the lame Stewart character on MTV's Beavis and Butt-head, who was often depicted wearing a Winger t-shirt. Still, my enjoyment would not be undone by a feud between Winger and show creator Mike Judge. They were the very first band I ever saw in concert, back in the Spring of 1991 while on tour for their second album. What a blast that was.

The band would only release one more album during their heyday, the criminally underrated Pull in 1993. The band later reunited, releasing a fourth album in 2006 (which I haven't heard). Since then, Winger himself did not remain stagnant, releasing a couple of solo albums as well as an album of acoustic takes on Winger hits mixed with prior solo recordings.

kipAll of this leads up to the lush From the Earth to the Moon, which is, quite frankly, a beautiful album. I am sure there are at least a few of you who will scoff at the very notion of Kip Winger producing well-crafted, thoughtfully-composed music, willing to linger on the, pirouette-performing, teased-hair, spandex-wearing version of Kyp Winger from the glam years. Those of you holding on to that image are just missing out.

This album is not a hard rocking album, don't expect another Winger release. This is an album filled with great melodies and atmospheric tunes that are soothing and introspective, yet still grooving and catchy. There are strong classic rock undercurrents flowing beneath the music, yet it still sounds contemporary, relevant, and original. There are hints of world music injected into the proceedings, likely from his collaboration with multi-instrumentalist Cenk Eroglu, hailing from Istanbul, Turkey.

I was instantly grabbed by the opening notes of "Every Story Told" with its use of samples and synth blended with layered acoustic guitar and Winger's strong voice. This leads the way for such numbers as "Nothing", the melancholy "Where Will You Go," and Middle Eastern-flavored instrumentals like "Ghosts".

From the Moon to the Sun strikes me as a deeply personal album for the songwriter. There is much sadness throughout, balanced with moments of hope and redemption. The music here is filled with the emotion of a man working through tough emotions, letting them all out in the recording studio. I never thought Kip had great tonal range as a singer, and that remains true here, but his passion makes up for any range issues in his music. Just listen to him sing, brimming with emotion without a tinge of sentimentality. Frankly, this may be the best music I have heard from him.

I've seen Kip Winger perform a solo acoustic show and I was terribly impressed with his ability; it opened my eyes to the artist that I took for granted so many years ago. While I was, and still am, a fan of Winger I cannot say I ever thought much of him as an artist thinking my enjoyment was purely nostalgic. After hearing that live performance and this recording, I'm amazed at the artistry that he displays. Perhaps I wouldn't be if I paid more attention to his earlier solo work. Be that as it may, I find this album downright enchanting.

Bottomline. This is an album that should not be ignored or written off. It is a mature work from an artist who seems to be more comfortable in his own skin as he grows older. When the majority of songwriters may begin petering out, he has only grown stronger.

Highly Recommended.

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About Draven99

  • Nice Review…

    I too haven’t listened to Kip Winger since Winger’s first release. So, even though I was aware of his solo releases, I was never inclined to search for samples of his work. Your review made me interested, unfortunately, I could not agree any less.

    I think this album had potential but maybe Mr.Winger didn’t have the resources to get it engineered properly. Yes, the production sounds a bit too home made. I can’t get it out of my head that his new (to me) style of singing sounds too much like Peter Gabriel and not in a good way.

    He has some really good ideas but most of the lyrics sound cliched and far too amateur for a man with his history.

    IMHO, with the opening track I was really looking forward to hearing a strong “progressive” release from this guy. Unfortunately, it sounds a bit desperate & sad.

    Sorry, still a Nice Review.

  • Paul Roy

    A few years ago I stumbled upon Kip Winger’s Down Incognito in some bargain bin at Tower Records – oh how I miss my Tower Records. It contains acoustic performances of mostly Winger songs, along with a few of his solo songs. Kip’s vocals sounded awesome and the acoustic performances were often better than the album versions. Most of the songs were from the third Winger album, Pull, which I did not yet have, and now I think it is the best of the three.

    Nice review. I may have to check this one out.

  • Jeff W

    Kip Winger solo is his outlet to do his own generally lighter work. It is more like Peter Gabriel than rock. I find myself on any of the three solo studio albums at times wishing Reb’s guitarwork was on the song. From the Moon to the Sun is actually my favorite of the three though and I think it is also significantly better than Winger IV. BUT… absolutely the best of Winger is PULL, no contest. It is one of only two albums I own that I consider 100% perfect. So, if you were a fan of Winger the band or Kip Winger, you HAVE to get Pull… that is a must own album. It may not hit on the first listen because it uses quite a bit of acoustic guitar in song intros, but it is just a great piece of work. To me, Kip is a genius that has a tendency to overthink and overwork some things… and that shows up more in his solo work (and also on Winger IV) but generally his work with Reb brings out the best in both of them. Reb adds the necessary bite and edge and Kip brings his great songwriting ideas. My issue with Kip is more that sometimes his execution of his ideas can keep a song from being all it could be. Solo he tends to keep heaviness out of the picture… and there are many songs that would be better with more bite to them in spots. Still… again… PULL… if you dont have it, get it. And if you want to try Winger solo, this album and the first are the ones to get, but go in expecting a difference and a lighter side and style.