Don Dokken – Solitary (2008)

Don Dokken – Solitary (2008, Dokken Enterprises, Inc.)

  1. In The Meadow
  2. I’ll Never Forget
  3. Where The Grass Is Green
  4. Ship Of Fools
  5. You Are Everything
  6. Venice
  7. Sarah
  8. The Tragedy
  9. Someday

Musicians:
Don Dokken – Vocals
Guitars: Michael Thompson, Steve Ornest, Wyn Davis
Bass: Tony Franklin, Michael Thompson, Wyn Davis
Drums: Frank Lentz, Gary Ferguson, Vinnie Colaiuta
Piano: John Schreiner, John Keane
Synth: John Schreiner, John Keane, Wyn Davis
Background Vocals: Kelly Keeling (on ‘Where The Grass Is Green’)

Produced by: Don Dokken & Wyn Davis

Total Time = 40:31

Don Dokken official website
Don Dokken MySpace page
Dokken official website
Dokken MySpace page

Don Dokken has been in the business for a long time, mostly fronting the Hard Rock band that bears his last name…..Dokken. After four gold and platinum albums with the band, Dokken broke up and Don decided to release his first solo record UP FROM THE ASHES (1990). The music on UP FROM THE ASHES was very similar to the Dokken Hard Rock sound and is considered by many fans to be the “lost” Dokken record. A few years later, the band would reunite and record two albums, DYSFUNCTIONAL (1995) & SHADOWLIFE (1997).  The SHADOWLIFE album was a low-key alternative sound and was mostly written by Don and is widely considered to be material that was to be used on a new solo album by Don.

Don Dokken has had a nice run with his main band in the last decade, Dokken has released 3 studio albums and is on the eve of their newest record, LIGHTNING STRIKES AGAIN, being released within a month. So why is Don releasing his second solo album now? Once you hear it, you’ll understand why.

SOLITARY is a very low-key, un-Dokken like album. It’s an acoustic album of mostly ballads that Don has written aside from his work on the latest Dokken album. The songs are personal and introspective as Don tells his tales of love, loss, peace and triumph without the aid of pounding drums and blazing guitars. The album as a whole has a mellow vibe with influences from the quieter moments of Led Zeppelin, The Beatles, The Eagles, and a little of The Doors. The voice is unmistakable but the vocals are low-key, slow and mid-paced, very calm. You can hear the piano, acoustic guitars, and percussion all blend into one and it all fits nicely. Very calm, very soothing and melodic, almost New Age sometimes. It also reminds me of the quieter songs from Great White as they usually have a bare bones acoustic thing going on with every album. I could go though all of the songs and describe them but I would be saying the same thing for each one: “acoustic, Don sings, mellow vibe, personal story”. Not that the songs are bad or anything, they all just have the same direction and vibe that is different from the traditional Dokken sound.

Bottom Line:
This is a record that Don Dokken made for Don Dokken not for fans of the band Dokken. If you want to hear the signature Hard Rock sound that made Dokken famous, then you want to check out LIGHTNING STRIKES AGAIN in about a month. If you want to hear something different, something mellow, then this is something to check out. It’s cool to hear a guy like Don Dokken branch out and do something different outside his main band. It’s a good acoustic record that’s outside his normal output. If you’re looking for Hard Rock or Heavy Metal, it’s not here. I knew that this CD was going to be different so my suggestion to anyone looking to pick this up is to know this is not the usual Dokken. Favorite songs here: ‘Ship Of Fools’, ‘You Are Everything’, ‘Venice’.

(Don Dokken is selling copies of SOLITARY at all of his acoustic solo shows and through his website. It’s NOT available through the Dokken website and I’m not sure if it will be sold at the merchandise stands when the band hits the road this summer.)