SLASH

Winnipeg Free Press - Section G - - ENTERTAINMENT -

MU­SIC fans may well won­der why a band like Guns N’ Roses gets in­ducted in to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, when the lineup that made them fa­mous hasn’t played to­gether in roughly 20 years.

Then you hear what just one of them can do on an al­bum like Apoc­a­lyp­tic Love.

Found­ing GNR gui­tarist Slash’s riffs and so­los are as nim­blei bl as ever, and d crackle with the en­ergy of a mu­si­cian still out to top ev­ery­thing he’s done be­fore.

Slash’s sec­ond solo al­bum kicks into high gear with Stand­ing in the Sun, a melodic thumper full of the elec­tric boo­gie that made GNR clas­sic Par­adise City such a crowd-pleaser. Halo boils over with sharp hooks and blis­ter­ing lead gui­tar, and We Will Roam chugs along with ra­dio-friendly riffs and an an­themic cho­rus.

But the high­light is Slash’s bril­liant play­ing. The songs of­ten seem merely a show­case for his six-string wiz­ardry, whether it’s some acous­tic in­ti­macy or work­ing on a deep, growl­ing groove.

His de­but solo al­bum was filled with guests, but this time Slash sticks with a sta­ble lineup through­out, in­clud­ing Win­nipeg­ger Brent Fitz on drums. Vo­cal­ist Myles Kennedy’s yowl com­ple­ments Slash’s blis­ter­ing leads nicely, es­pe­cially on You’re a Lie, though it never quite keeps up with (or over­pow­ers) them as Axl Rose’s once did, and it’s miles ahead of Scott Wei­land’s ane­mic singing, which muted Slash’s py­rotech­nics with Vel­vet Re­volver.

If it’s hard to imag­ine Slash’s sig­na­ture churn­ing, pre­cise gui­tar work with­out Rose’s equally dis­tinc­tive voice, stop wish­ing for that never-gonna-hap­pen GNR re­union and lis­ten to what the top-hat­ted won­der is up to in this cen­tury. You won’t be dis­ap­pointed. IT would have been the late Joey Ra­mone’s 61st birth­day on May 19, so in hon­our of the punk rock leg­end, pro­duc­ers like Ed Sta­sium and Joey’s brother Mickey Leigh re­cruited some of Ra­mone’s friends (Joan Jett, Steven Van Zandt, the Dic­ta­tors, Cheap Trick) to flesh out de­mos the Ra­mones vo­cal­ist left un­fin­ished be­fore his 2001 death from lym­phoma.

The re­sults are a de­cent, if un­even, col­lec­tion high­lighted by the Beat on the Brat-melody steal­ing What Did I Do To De­serve You?; the ’60s rocker I Couldn’t Sleep; the bal­lad Party Line (turned into a male­fe­male duet with Holly Beth Vin­cent); and an acous­tic re­work­ing of Life’s a Gas, orig­i­nally re­leased on the Ra­mones final al­bum, Adios Ami­gos, but given a whole new mean­ing when he sings, “So don’t be sad be­cause I’ll be there/don’t be sad at all.”

Some of the mid-tempo tracks ( Rock ‘N Roll is the An­swer, New York City) cruise along aim­lessly with­out much go­ing for them with the ex­cep­tion that we get to hear Joey’s voice again, a voice sorely missed. WE are get­ting closer to sum­mer hol­i­day time and with hours to kill it means that you may want to step in­side your way back ma­chine and set the thing to the 1980s. You will need a sound­track for your jour­ney and since you have equipped your unit with all the nec­es­sary elec­tronic gad­getry you can slip the new Men With­out Hats al­bum into your player to help son­i­cally guide you back to the age of New Wave Canuck pop.

Yes folks it’s Ivan and Colin Doroschuk with some hired hands, act­ing like no time has passed since their last al­bum 10 years ago. Love In The Age Of War, their sev­enth full-length, is a point­less, yet lis­ten­able set that proves ev­ery­thing (at least, it seems, in pop mu­sic) old is new again and vice versa. There isn’t much to rec­om­mend here ex­cept the band’s abil­ity to com­pletely shut down time and play mid-tempo elec­tronic dance mu­sic that is as sar­donic as the day is long.

If you bopped in harem pants to tracks like Safety Dance and Pop Goes The World then these 11 tracks will de­liver you rapidly to your past, with love. ½ IT seems like the lat­est wave of coun­try singers have all been in­flu­enced by none other than Bruce Spring­steen, whether it be out­law off­spring like Shooter Jen­nings, wannabe out­law Eric Church or gravel-throated new­comer Kip Moore. In fact, the open­ing line of the haunt­ing and melodic Hey Pretty Girl is likely to have you singing the lyrics to I’m On Fire in­stead.

Aside from the all too ob­vi­ous in­flu­ence, Moore de­liv­ers a con­vinc­ing, coun­try rockin’ al­bum of sum­mer sound­track fare like his cur­rent No. 1 sin­gle Some­thin’ ’Bout a Truck cel­e­brat­ing beer, girls in red sun­dresses and trucks, of course. Moore dis­plays a bit of di­ver­sity get­ting bluesy on Fly Again and spir­i­tual on Faith When I Fall.

Moore’s own pen ink is sprayed across all 11 tracks on this im­pres­sive and promis­ing de­but. Just wait un­til this Ge­or­gia na­tive dis­cov­ers who he re­ally is. ½ FOR her first U.S. stu­dio al­bum in 15 years, Bri­tish singer Claire Martin per­forms 13 love songs from the Great Amer­i­can Song­book with, fit­tingly, a band of great Amer­i­can jazz mu­si­cians led by pi­anist Kenny Bar­ron. It was well worth the wait. Martin per­forms a mix of duets with Bar­ron, such as Em­brace­able You, and en­sem­ble pieces with the su­perb team of Peter Washington on bass and Kenny Washington on drums, and Steve Wil­son on sax­o­phone and flute.

Martin and Bar­ron are so in sync they sound as if they have been per­form­ing to­gether for years — check their ver­sion of How Long Has This Been Go­ing On? for proof.

Us­ing the Wash­ing­tons — two-thirds of the great Bill Char­lap pi­ano trio — was a bril­liant stroke; they are so sup­port­ive to both singer and pi­anist. Lis­ten to Wil­son’s alto sax on Lazy Af­ter­noon.

Martin is a great, ex­pres­sive singer who makes these stan­dards shine, and who de­serves the greater North Amer­i­can ex­po­sure this disc should give her.

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