Bernie Williams is in a unique position in that, when most sports stars step away from the game, they don’t have any other passion to occupy their thoughts and energies. He, on the other hand, sees his time away from baseball as the first real chance he’s had to take his guitar playing and his compositional skills seriously. Because his debut, 2003’s The Journey Within, was met with critical and popular acclaim, he was able to bring in an even bigger cast of heavy hitters for his sophomore effort. The players include, Dave Weckl and Kenny Aaronoff on drums, Lee Sklar and Abraham Laboriel on bass, and Dave Kox on sax. It’s the other guitarists that Williams surrounds himself with though, that are the most mind-blowing.“Guys like Mike Stern and Scott Henderson were such huge influences on me” he says. “The idea that I could get them to play on my compositions, along with monsters like Michael Landau and Tim Pierce, that’s a dream come true to me.”Despite the contributions from those guitar all-stars, Williams remains the focal point, with deft acoustic rhythm and lead parts on every cut, plus great electric work. He jams with Bruce Springsteen on a live cut of “Glory Days” to close the album out, which, ironically enough, is a song about washed up dudes who haven’t done jack since their “heyday.” No danger of that here. —Matt Blackett
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