A se­lec­tion of new and reis­sued gui­tar re­leases, in­clud­ing Al­bum Of The Month

Guitar Techniques - - CONTENTS -

Lat­est gui­tar CDs re­viewed and rated.

Doyle Bramhall II Shades Provogue Records ✪✪✪✪✪

If you know Bramhall as Clap­ton’s ‘up­side­down south­paw’ side­man but have not yet checked out the Texan’s solo out­put you’ve a treat in store should you put this in your player. Open­ing with the dark ‘Nir­vana meets

Beatles’ Love And Rain with its stun­ning back­wards gui­tar, there’s no let-up. We kick straight in to Ham­mer Ring, a fes­ti­val of sound with great vo­cals, a fine Doyle solo and pow­er­ful pro­duc­tion from Bramhall him­self. The top-qual­ity in­flu­ences come thick and fast: Ev­ery­thing You Need could have come from In­nervi­sions-era Ste­vie Won­der and fea­tures no less than EC on gui­tar. If for ‘Texas gui­tarist’ you in­stantly read SRV then think again. This goes way deeper. The sounds are amaz­ing, evok­ing all the afore­men­tioned but also Fleet Foxes, CSN&Y and more, but with Doyle’s pow­er­ful writ­ing, singing and gui­tar tak­ing cen­tre stage. Top men­tions also go to Search­ing For Love fea­tur­ing No­rah Jones, and Go­ing Go­ing Gone pow­ered by the mighty Tedeschi Trucks Band. Texas blues it ain’t – ab­so­lutely stun­ning stuff it is!

Plini Sun­head Plini ✪✪✪✪✪

In­stru­men­tal elec­tric gui­tar is go­ing through some in­ter­est­ing changes; there are the shred­ders who play rock (or neo-clas­si­cal) very fast, riff based Djent metal stylists who favour gained-out seven and eight-strings, fu­sion play­ers that link jazz with other styles (rock, funk etc) and am­bi­ent pro­gres­sives who favour tim­bral tex­ture over never-end­ing note streams. In some ways, 20-some­thing Aus­tralian gui­tarist Plini em­braces all these with a style that can be ag­gres­sive then up­lift­ing and am­bi­ent. Blend Wayne Krantz, Nick John­ston and An­i­mals As Lead­ers for an ap­prox­i­mate ob­ser­va­tion. Sun­head is his new four-track EP which fol­lows an al­bum, three pre­vi­ous EPs and var­i­ous sin­gles. Weld­ing a head­less Strand­berg gui­tar, there’s an in­trigu­ing beauty amid his

flu­id­ity and syn­co­pa­tions that sets him apart. Opener, Kind flows through var­i­ous in­ten­si­ties with so­phis­ti­ca­tion that be­lies his age. Salt & Char­coal is the big one though; strong, op­er­atic riff­ing with clipped note cas­cades en­hanced by syn­co­pated melodies and joy­ous har­mony. Killer solo too. The rag­ingly beau­ti­ful ti­tle track fea­tures a guest solo from US legato le­gend, Tim Miller; both play great on this. Watch out for Plini - Steve Vai has al­ready clocked that the Aus­tralian is def­i­nitely re­fresh­ing!

Ben Poole Any­time You Need Me Man­haton ✪✪✪✪✪

Hav­ing tran­scended the ‘most promis­ing’ la­bel this third ef­fort of ef­fort­lessly cool pop-blues en­sures Poole is now a fully-fledged con­tender. With his breathy voice and R&B har­monies lur­ing you in, the blissed out gui­tar work is al­most unas­sum­ing un­til it ex­plodes on the soar­ing lead of Found Out The Hard Way, while Dirty Laun­dry’s choppy tones giv­ing way to a real ex­plo­ration of six-string histri­on­ics. As we rush into the sea­son of mists and mel­low fruit­ful­ness, there’s still time for this to ce­ment it­self as your late sum­mer sound­track. If you like Jonny Lang and John Mayer this will def­i­nitely ap­peal and, come to think of it, you may even pre­fer it!

Billy F Gibbons The Big Bad Blues Snake­farm Records ✪✪✪✪✪

Few gui­tarists haven’t heard of ZZ Top; the hugely iconic blues-rock band has cul­ti­vated a huge fan­base for over 50 years! For those that love the band’s blues-rock style (Tush, Just Got Paid, etc) this new re­lease by front­man Gibbons is a corker as the 11 tracks are full of groove and gusto. Di­vided be­tween orig­i­nals and older blues clas­sics, Billy growls and sings with real flair while his gui­tar swag­gers, shuf­fles and slides with time­less amp tones. Opener, Missin’ The Kissin’ is a real foot-tap­per; slower than ZZ’s clas­sic, La Grange but cer­tainly in that ball­park. My Baby Rocks is in­fec­tious with its wide groove, har­mon­ica licks and a laid-back solo. Muddy Wa­ters songs oc­cur twice; Stand­ing Around Cry­ing (a great slow blues with tasty solo) and Rollin’ And Tum­blin’ (rol­lick­ing tempo, greasy solo) which add to the al­bum’s panache. To close, Bo Did­dley’s Crack­ing’ Up is a great ’50s rocker with three chords, a rolling rhythm and clean re­verbed gui­tars. If you’re look­ing for new sum­mer blues mu­sic for high­way driv­ing, this could be hard to beat!

Gor­don Gil­trap Heart­songs Psy­chotron Records ✪✪✪✪✪

This 20-track com­pi­la­tion from one of the UK’s finest and best-loved acous­tic gui­tarists kicks off in awe­some style with a 1993 re­make of Gor­don’s big­gest hit, Heart­song. Fea­tur­ing a mind-blow­ing cast in­clud­ing Brian May, Steve Howe and Midge Ure, keysman Rick Wake­man, and bas­sist Neil Mur­ray it’s a fan­tas­tic re­work­ing of a su­per tune. Wake­man, Howe and May all get to shine and Gil­trap’s play­ing is flaw­less as ever. If you want to hear Gor­don’s take on the blues then Five Dol­lar Gui­tar (in­spired by Clap­ton talk­ing of his hero Robert John­son), takes it to places you never thought pos­si­ble. It’s blues, Jim, but not as we know it! Sim­ply stun­ning play­ing through­out, with Lazy Sun­day, Sim­ply Mar­garet (rather James Tay­lor-ish chords), the hym­nal For­ever Gold, and Em’s Tune among the favourites. Not a duff track here and a great Sun­day morn­ing lis­ten to boot!

Clutch Book Of Bad De­ci­sions Weather­maker ✪✪✪✪✪

It’s no shame be­ing un­fa­mil­iar with the con­sis­tently best rock band of the 21st cen­tury, but now we’ve brought them to your at­ten­tion and as they clock up their dozenth out­ing, there re­ally is no ex­cuse. Al­bum 12 presents plenty of mu­si­cal in­ven­tion to un­wrap and ex­am­ine if you can prize your­self away from the dance floor. The funky rhythm sec­tion make the hard yards only for Neil Fal­lon and Tim Sult’s riffs on the ri­otous Gimme The Keys and rock­ing cel­e­bra­tion of stand­out track How To Shake Hands, to steal the lime­light. Even the more fa­mil­iar swanky blues rock of In Walks Bar­barella stands apart from the usual clichés due to Fal­lon’s end­lessly in­trigu­ing sto­ry­telling. Not only is re­sis­tance fu­tile, it’s an act of lu­nacy.

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