A selection of new and reissued guitar releases, including Album Of The Month...
New guitar CDs and DVDs reviewed and rated by our very own Roger Newell.
Jeff Beck LIVE IN TOKYO
Shot at Tokyo’s Dome City Hall this comes with much expectation from Beck’s fans. Of his band Jeff comments “Nicolas Meier is a great guitar player, more a jazzer but with an eastern flavour. Bassist Rhonda Smith, she’s my anchor, ex Prince and funky as they come, and drummer Jonathan Joseph has a bit of Billy Cobham and a bit of Vinnie; he’s amazing!” The concert kicks off with Loaded which demonstrates how much you can put into an instrumental that sits on one chord. Jeff has an amazing ability to take songs like Little Wing and turn them into his own instrumentals, full of emotion and laced with guitar trickery that leaves you spellbound. This video is imaginatively shot from on and off stage with plenty of close-ups so you learn a few things as you get drawn right into this stunning performance; it’s packed to the rafters with guitar expertise. We particularly like Hammerhead, Where Were You, A Day In The Life and the slide guitar on Angel (Footsteps) but it’s all brilliant. A setlist commentary and an interesting band-on-band interview are included.
Rock or Bust
Although it’s been a rocky time for the band this finds AC/DC still playing like they mean business, in spite of saying that this is likely to be their last album. Sadly Malcolm Young is not directly involved due to his medical condition; however much of the material was drawn from earlier recording sessions so he is actually on the record. Along with Angus, Brian, Cliff and Phil for this recording, second guitar was played by Stevie Young who is the nephew of Angus and Malcolm, so there’s plenty of Young DNA still present. The title track and Play Ball have both been released as singles and serve well as a taster for this follow-up to their 2008 album, Black Ice. If this does prove to be their very last studio album then it stands as a solid testament to one of the greatest rock bands that has ever existed. They will tour again in 2015 with Stevie but whether the recently drugs busted Phil Rudd will also be involved, remains to be seen.
the rolling stones
La Forum – live in 1975
This is part of the new series of live performances from The Stones that have been given a video and sound ‘makeover’ for this, their first official release. This is from their Tour Of The Americas ’75 and it’s their first tour with Ronnie Wood who had recently replaced Mick Taylor on guitar, with the rest of the band still intact from the early days. There are other players too; percussion, brass and both Ian Stewart and Billy Preston on keys. The band performed five nights at the Forum and this one opens up with a rather raw version of Honky Tonk Women. Things improve as the concert moves on but this is still a raw sounding era for the band. Keith Richards seems very happy with Ronnie in the band and both guitarists do a great job on solos and in recreating the recorded Stones sounds - that said there’s nothing but Angie from the earlier days. Still more blues influenced than soul at this point in time, this series is fantastic for the hardened fan but will do little to encourage new listeners. However the restoration job on this is excellent so it’s a very worthwhile project.
Echosmith is a young quartet based in Los Angeles and their video of Cool Kids (included on the album) has had over nine million hits on YouTube and that could well translate into a huge selling album. Fronted by female vocalist Sydney Sierota and supported by her brothers Jamie, Noah and Graham this is essentially mainstream pop but the difference here is that they sound like a band rather than the over-produced singles that currently dominate the airwaves. The songs are well constructed with a slightly quirky element but immediately catch the ears. They could be seen as an American alternative to Denmark’s Alphabeat or Sydney as a new Avril Lavigne, but their potential could be even greater than both. Jamie’s guitar work is good and he adopts some unusual sounds here and there and neatly demonstrates that you can find a niche in music whatever age you are. If this is what our kids are going to listen to then things aren’t all that bad.
The Big Revival
Every now and again you just need to hear some down to earth country rock guitar and for that this latest studio album from Kenny Chesney has got to be one of the best. Kenny has gradually been slipping away from his southern rock country roots but now he’s back loud and proud with eleven great tracks and a bus-load of guitar solos. Taking a break in his heavy touring schedule earlier this year he slipped into the studio to record his 15th album. American Kids was released as a single in the States and sold wel, l and like much of this album shows a move to appeal to a younger audience. It certainly works. The material is strong with a lot more emphasis on rock than ballads and we particularly like Save It For A Rainy Day, the hard hitting Drink It Up and the stomping title track with its practiced guitar solo. While this will definitely appeal to the hardened fan it also provides a great chance to discover Kenny Chesney for yourself. Yes he’s been around for a while but he’s still a force to be reckoned with when it comes to playing great guitar. Give this one a listen.
When The Crow Flies
This debut album from StoneWire is a cool mixture of Southern American blues and good old-fashioned British rock. This fusion is made possible by the vocal talents of Sky Hunter. Sky is a great personality and at times sounds a bit like Robert Plant; she also has the enviable ability to project her voice way over the hard delivery of the band. Guitar duties fall to Gareth Annable, an accomplished player who can really punch out high-octane riffs and solos, ably assisted by bassist Steve Briggs and drummer Rob Glasner. This tight and powerful British quartet released a self-titled EP in 2012, opened for Michael Schenker during the Swedish section of his Temple Of Rock tour in 2013, and has finally produced this album of eleven original songs. Try and get a listen to the single pull Favourite Bitch - which is very representative of this album but by no means the best track in our opinion. We suggest you check out Southern Honey for a better idea of what the band is really capable of.