Co-founding Journey bassist Ross Valory is offering UCR readers an exclusive second peek into his upcoming solo debut with this video premiere of the percussion-driven "Wild Kingdom."

This track proved to be the starting point in lengthy sessions for All of the Above, which is due on April 12 from OID Music. Valory says he started with a keyboard riff played in the early '80s through a calliope loop on Yamaha DX7. An early demo included fellow Journey alum Steve Smith on drums before Valory returned to the unfinished idea in the 2010s.

"'Wild Kingdom' is definitely a good example of the variety of songs on this first album," Valory tells UCR. "I wrote the piece on a calliope in the mid-'80s and had the privilege of developing the arrangement with Karl Perazzo, master percussionist with Santana, in 2012. 'Wild Kingdom' became my first venture in recording with authentic Latin rhythms."

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The song was finished with drumming from Perazzo's Santana bandmate Walfredo Reyes Jr. Keyboardist and album co-producer Eric Levy (Night Ranger) earned a co-writing credit; saxophonist Marc Russo rounds things out. Valory then returned to work with the same director who helmed the video for "Tomland," the first single from All of the Above.

"The music video for 'Wild Kingdom' is the marvelous work of Michael Cotten," Valory adds. "His approach, as it was for 'Tomland,' is strikingly intuitive. I continue to be amazed by how well Michael visually interprets my music."

As the winding story around "Wild Kingdom" makes clear, All of the Above has been years in the making. Valory said he's been tinkering on some of these tracks since the '90s. The initial idea for "Tomland" dated back to Valory's pre-Journey tenure with the Steve Miller Band.

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Russo, a member of the Doobie Brothers' touring band, would become a key contributor along the way. Early Journey drummer Prairie Prince performed on "Tomland," and also created the album cover art. Valory's former Storm bandmate Josh Ramos appears on an update of "Low Rider" by War. Smith sits in on "Nightflower," while Gregg Errico of Sly and the Family Stone fame plays drums on "Low Rider."

Neal Schon's son Miles was featured on "Tomland." Valory wrote "Nightflower" and "No One Wins a War" with fellow original Journey member George Tickner and Stevie "Keys" Roseman, who played piano on Journey's Top 20 hit "The Party's Over (Hopelessly in Love)." Valory, Tickner and Roseman would later work together in the short-lived instrumental group VTR.

"After waiting several decades, I'm very happy to be finally sharing my music with the world," Valory tells UCR. "My album All of the Above is a reflection of so many musical influences in my life, and my hope is to reach a vast and varied audience, possibly beyond the popular music I am known for."

Valory had two lengthy stints in Journey, from 1973-85 and then from 1995-2020. He appeared on every album except 1986's Raised on Radio and 2022's Freedom, both times replaced by Randy Jackson. Valory also co-wrote more than a half dozen Journey songs, including the radio favorites "Anytime" and "Just the Same Way."

Nick DeRiso is author of the Amazon best-selling rock band bio 'Journey: Worlds Apart,' available now at all major booksellers' websites.

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Gallery Credit: Nick DeRiso

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