Review | Ron Coolen + Keith St. John – Here To Stay

RC Music

Dutch multi-instrumentalist Ron Coolen surprised some three years ago with the album ‘Rise’, playing guitar, keyboards, bass and drums. He invited a bunch of well-known guitarists like for instance George Lynch and Per Nilsson plus a bunch of others to do the guitar solos. On vocals he managed to get the voices of Goran Edman (Malmsteen) and above all Keith St John (Burning Rain, Montrose, Kingdom Come). Production wise there were a few minor points of critic like a dry drum sound but for a debut album it was a cool mix of melodic rock and heavy metal. It was a job well done.


With ‘Here To Stay’ Ron Coolen delivers a rock musical statement. Production wise things have improved a lot. Thanks to a sparkling mix done by Hans Pieters, a veteran in the Dutch rock scene with tonnes of studio experience. This album rocks! The songs are better, the playing and singing is really up to scratch.


Ron wrote most of the songs together with Keith St John who sings all tracks on this album. It gives ‘Here To Stay’ a more consistent sound while also the songs are more in line. Because of the specific colour sound of St John it shall not be a real surprise that this album does have similarities with Keith’s Burning Rain period with guitarist Doug Aldrich. Talking about guitarists: this album has plenty of names on offer. Greek guitar God Gus G, George Lynch, Christopher Amott, Joey Conception (also present on ‘Rise’), Per Nilsson and Dutch maestro Timo Somers give this album a huge kick with their acrobatics. Especially Somers and Gus G (both play on multiple tracks) are impressive to say at the least. For guitar freaks there is plenty to enjoy here, let that be clear.


But the real mastermind of all this is Ron Coolen, playing bass, rhythm guitar, drums, keyboards plus having a hand in all compositions. The man has a huge musical fantasy writing songs that move between melodic rock and fierce heavy metal. Offering a guy like Keith St John the chance to open all registers of his impressive voice and that is exactly what is the happening here. Add to that an exciting sequence of songs and you will encounter a record that will have you at the edge of your seat from the very beginning until the very end. You can get your copy here for a very decent price. Some tracks are displayed on YouTube. Check it out. You will not be disappointed.

Release date: 1 December 2023



Logged in as