CD Review: Kasim Sulton’s “3”

Kasim Sulton, best known for his work alongside Todd Rundgren and as a member of the power-pop band Utopia, recently released his third solo album (in Oct. 2014) and aptly titled 3. This talented singer/songwriter/bassist/guitarist has an impressive resume, having performed and recorded with Mick Jagger, Cheap Trick, Meatloaf, Joan Jett, Patty Smith, Hall and Oates, Richie Sambora, Celine Dion, Bon Jovi, Patty Smyth, Blue Oyster Cult and Meat Loaf over his nearly 40-year career.


Review by Joe Milliken

Nine of the tracks are written by Kasim and all but three of the tracks were recorded at his home studio, while the other three recorded in London at Phil Thornalley’s studio in St. John’s Wood. “I mostly work alone at home,” Sulton told this reviewer in a recent interview. “These days, you don’t need a lot of assistants to make a record.”

Having such a busy schedule working with various artists and bands, most recently with Rundgren and Blue Oyster Cult, Kasim has worked on the songs for 3 in his spare time, covering about a three-year span. However, although he usually records and mixes his solo CDs exclusively, Sulton brought in a couple friends to mix a few tracks this time around, including the aforementioned Thornalley, Jimmy Bralower, Steve Churchyard, Mike Nocito and Jim LaForrest. “After working on the record for nearly three years, I thought I might be too close to the songs to make the best mix decisions.

The first single, titled “Clocks All Stopped,” features Sulton's Utopia band mates Rundgren and keyboardist Roger Powell and as one might expect, sounds eerily like some long-lost track from a Utopia studio session. The track was fine-tuned over a two-year period, with the help of British songwriter, the aforementioned Phil Thornalley. The song was clearly Sulton's opportunity to record a track that sounds like something a fan would find on a classic Utopia album.

The track, “Too Much On Her Mind,” was originally written by the highly underrated Bill Spooner, singer, songwriter, guitarist and founder of San Francisco rockers The Tubes and a long time friend of Kasim’s. The track also features Utopia drummer Willie Wilcox and another long time friend in former keyboard player of The Cars, Greg Hawkes. Another (and change of pace) cover song includes Sulton's stunning piano rendition of the classic Gershwin standard “Someone To Watch Over Me.”

Other tracks include the classic rock flair of “Fell In Love For The Last Time,” the lush orchestral keyboards and guitars of “Fade Away,” themes of the perpetual working musician in “Traveler” and “Watching The World Go By,” and the inner feelings and social commentary of “Shine On,” “15 Minutes” and “God of Low,” in which Sulton plays all the instruments.

Overall this is a versatile collection of songs that are written, recorded, mixed and played by a multi-talented artist who deserves far more recognition than he sometimes receives. To learn more about Kasim Sulton, his new solo release 3 and upcoming live performances, please visit his website at www.kasimsulton.com.